Sanaa, Feb 17 (IANS) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, dubbed the anti-government protesters as “elements of the coup”, the official Saba news agency reported.
“The young people who stage protests are trying to spread unrest across the country and they are elements of the coup,” Xinhua quoted Saleh as having said.
“I’m not stick to the power, power is available to anyone, but through ballot boxes,” he said while addressing thousands of his tribal supporters in northwest province of Hajja Wednesday.
“The time of coups and chaos is over,” Saleh said. “Whoever wants to take the power, he must take it through the ballot boxes, not through chaos in streets,” he added.
Saleh, who has been facing massive protests and demands for his resignation, announced last week that he would step down after his term expires in 2013 and promised not to hand over power to his son.
On Wednesday, two people died of wounds from gunshot during clashes between anti-government protesters and the police in the country’s southern city port of Aden. Several anti-regime rallies violently rattled other major provinces simultaneously, leaving at least 14 injured.
Yemen struggles to cement a fragile ceasefire deal with a Shiite rebellion in the north and to quell a growing separatist movement in the south while the resurgent Al Qaeda group are on the rampage across the country.
Northern Shiite rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Houthi in a statement posted on the internet Tuesday ordered his armed groups to support the Yemeni people against President Saleh if the “revolution breaks out”.