Shops close across Yemen in protest against Saleh

Up to 90 percent of shops, markets and schools were closed in Aden.

Aden: Yemenis boarded up their shops and businesses across the country on Saturday in protest against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Up to 90 percent of shops, markets and schools were closed in the southern port city of Aden, a witness said. There were few pedestrians in the streets and almost no traffic.

Many businesses were also closed for the day in the cities of Taiz, Yemen`s third city and an epicentre of opposition to the 69-year-old-President, and Hodeidah on the Red Sea.

Yemenis flooded the streets of Sana’a and Taiz on Friday in rival demonstrations for and against Saleh, who gave a guarded welcome to a Gulf Arab plan for a three-month transition of power.

The proposal of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) calls for Saleh to hand power to his vice president one month after signing an agreement.

He would appoint an opposition leader to lead an interim cabinet charged with preparing Presidential Elections two months later, a Yemeni official said on Friday.

The plan, presented on Thursday, also gives immunity from prosecution to Saleh, his family and aides -- anathema to his foes, who would also have to end protests under the proposal.

Saleh`s long-time Gulf and Western allies, concerned that the chaos in Yemen will open more opportunities for ambitious al Qaeda militants, are trying to broker an orderly transition after three months of protests against Saleh`s 32-year rule.

Bureau Report