Ali Abdullah Saleh was speaking to a crowd of supporters in Sanaa Friday as thousands of his opponents gathered in a nearby square, chanting slogans against him.

Yemen’s president has called for early presidential elections, ignoring a deal that would end his decades—long rule.

Ali Abdullah Saleh was speaking to a crowd of supporters in Sanaa Friday as thousands of his opponents gathered in a nearby square, chanting slogans against him.

He didn’t specify a date for elections or mention a regional proposal to leave power in exchange for immunity from prosecution. The opposition has accused Mr. Saleh of stalling.

Yemen is reeling from three months of street protests. The United States, which until recently considered Mr. Saleh a key ally in fighting al—Qaeda, has backed away from the leader.

President Barack Obama said on Thursday that “Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power.”

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