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President calls for talks as thousands stage sit-ins across Yemen

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President calls for talks as thousands stage sit-ins across Yemen


The leader of Yemen’s secessionist Southern Movement has been arrested in Aden as unrest continues for a ninth consecutive day.

Hasan Baoum was reportedly detained in the southern port city by an “armed military group” in a hospital where he was receiving treatment and was taken to an unknown location, his youngest son Fadi Hasan Baoum told Reuters. Baoum was also arrested in November last year, accused of planning illegal demonstrations.

In the capital, Sanaa, as many as 50 government supporters tried to break up a protest outside the city’s university by more than 1,000 demonstrators.

Thousands of people also staged sit-ins in the cities of Ibb and Taiz, demanding the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

For the moment, there is little sign that Saleh is willing to listen. At a rally in the capital he blamed the violence on “infiltrators” while reaffirming his position as Yemeni leader. He also called on all parties to come together for talks: “We are willing to meet their demands, if they are legitimate,” he said.

With the government stepping up security across main cities, the political stalemate seems set to continue.

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