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Updated: March 23, 2011 21:56 IST

Yemeni President given emergency powers

AP
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A Yemeni army soldier checks a pedestrian as he and others stand guard to protect anti-government protestors attending a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa on Tuesday. Photo: AP.
A Yemeni army soldier checks a pedestrian as he and others stand guard to protect anti-government protestors attending a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa on Tuesday. Photo: AP.

Yemen's Parliament enacted sweeping emergency laws on Wednesday after the country's embattled President asked for new powers of arrest, detention and censorship to quash a popular uprising demanding his ouster.

The move escalates the showdown between Ali Abdullah Saleh and the movement that has unified military commanders, religious leaders and protesting youth in demands for his immediate departure. The state of emergency suspends the Constitution, allows media censorship, bars street protests and gives security forces 30 days of far-reaching powers to arrest and detain without judicial process.

Youth leaders at the Sana'a square that has become the epicentre of the protests dismissed the move. “It is the revolution that now decides the future of the nation,” said a protest leader. We pay no attention to the measures.”

Rival factions of the military have deployed tanks in the capital , Sana'a — with units commanded by one of Mr. Saleh's son protecting the President's palace, and units loyal to a top dissident commander protecting the protesters.

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