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Yemeni Lawmakers Meet To Debate State Of Emergency

Yemeni armored personnel carriers are deployed in Sanaa.
Members of parliament in Yemen today are debating legislation that would legitimize the imposition of a state of emergency in the country after seven weeks of demonstrations by antigovernment protesters calling for an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule.

To take effect, the legislation would need approval from a majority in the 301-seat parliament. The embattled Saleh, who has ruled for more than three decades, announced the state of emergency after 52 demonstrators were gunned down by regime loyalists in Sanaa on March 18.

Yemen opposition groups today called for a march on Saleh's presidential palace in Sanaa after Friday Prayers on March 25 to demand that he step down from power immediately.

Saleh has offered to leave office early -- but only after organizing parliamentary elections by January 2012. Opposition leaders rejected the offer.

Saleh's term in office is due to run out in September 2013.

compiled from news agencies