In the wake of an intensifying crackdown against anti-government protesters (including the killing of at least 30 demonstrators earlier today in the capitol Sanaa), the president of Yemen has declared a state of emergency in the restive country.
Ali Abdullah Saleh said the decision to establish the state of emergency was actually arrived at by the country's national security council.
There is no immediate information on how long the emergency would last.
Saleh indicated that there were armed elements amongst the demonstrators, according to Reuters, and he also insisted that earlier clashes were between citizens and protesters (that is, the conflicts did not involve government troops).
Muttahar al-Masri, the country's interior minister, said the state of emergency would also include a curfew.
Anti-state protests were reported across Yemen as the movement to oust Saleh shows no signs of abating.
They want to terrorize us, They want to drag us into a cycle of violence to make the revolution meaningless, an anti-government protester said, according to Al Jazeera.
An opposition spokesman described today’s violence as a massacre and added this is part of a criminal plan to kill off the protesters, and the president and his relatives are responsible for the bloodshed in Yemen today.
Consequently, the opposition movement has abandoned any hopes of engaging into negotiations with Saleh.
We condemn these crimes, said Yassin Noman, president of a Yemeni opposition group. There is no longer any possibility of mutual understanding with this regime and he has no choice but to surrender authority to the people.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who just returned from a trip to the Middle East, said on Friday:
With regard to Yemen, our message remains the same. The violence needs to end, negotiations need to be pursued in order to reach a political solution.
Meanwhile, the Arab League plans to deliberate on the worsening crisis in Yemen.
What is happening in Yemen is extremely disturbing and it is a source of deep concern,” said Hissam Youssef, the chief of staff of the Arab League's secretary-general, reported Al Jazeera.
“We have a clear position in relation to how to deal with people who are demonstrating peacefully, since this is their right. And we also feel that governments have to respond positively to the demands that are being placed by the people in different places. The situation in Yemen has been considered, but now the situation is escalating - we have asked for dialogue, we have asked for responding positively to the demands and concerns of the people, and we are continuing our consultations in this regard.
However, Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Yemen, downplays the importance of the Arab League.
People in Yemen have no faith in the Arab League, they don't think that the Arab League can bring any solution to this crisis which is evolving now, he said.