April 24, 2011 / 2:22 PM / 8 years ago

Timeline: Protesters demand Saleh step down as Yemen ruler

(Reuters) - Here is a timeline on Yemen since protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 32-year rule began:

January 29, 2011 - Yemen’s ruling party calls for dialogue with the opposition, in a bid to stem anti-government protests.

— Saleh supporters attack and disperse Yemenis who try to march to the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa to express solidarity with anti-government Egyptian demonstrators.

— Yemeni protesters chant “the people want the regime to fall.”

February 3 - A day of anti-government protests brings more than 20,000 people onto the streets in Sanaa.

March 2 - The opposition presents Saleh with a plan for smooth transition of power, offering him a graceful exit.

— Saleh says he will draw up a new constitution to create a parliamentary system of government. An opposition spokesman swiftly rejects the proposal.

March 18 - Snipers kill 52 protesters among crowds that flocked to a sit-in at Sanaa University after Friday prayers. The killings prompt Saleh to declare a state of emergency.

March 20 - Saleh fires his government.

March 21 - Senior army commanders say they have switched support to pro-democracy activists, including Saleh ally General Ali Mohsen, commander of the northwest military zone.

March 23 - Saleh offers to step down by the end of 2011. He also proposes to hold a referendum on a new constitution, then a parliamentary election and presidential vote.

March 25 - Saleh says he is ready to cede power to stop more bloodshed in Yemen, but only to what he calls “safe hands” as thousands rally against him in “Day of Departure” protests.

March 29 - Saleh holds talks with Mohammed al-Yadoumi, head of the Islamist Islah party, once a partner in his government.

— At the talks Saleh makes a new offer, proposing he stays in office until elections are held but transferring his powers to a caretaker government, an opposition source says.

— The opposition promptly rejects this offer, calling it “an attempt to prolong the survival of the regime.”

April 1 - Saleh tells a huge rally of supporters that he will sacrifice everything for his country, suggesting he has no plans to step down yet.

— Anti-Saleh protesters name the day a “Friday of enough” while loyalists branded it a “Friday of brotherhood.” April 2 - The opposition proposes a five-point plan whereby the army and security forces will be restructured by a vice-president acting as temporary president.

April 4 - Police open fire on protesters in Taiz, killing at least 12 people and wounding 30, hospital sources said.

April 6 - Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani says the GCC will strike a deal for Saleh to leave.

April 8 - Pro-democracy protesters hold a “Friday of firmness” in Sanaa, shouting “You’re next, you leader of the corrupt.”

April 14 - Yemen’s opposition rejects an offer to join Gulf-mediated talks and sets a two-week deadline for Saleh to step down.

April 15 - Saleh calls the opposition liars and bandits, and appeals to religious sensitivities in Yemen by criticizing the mixing of unrelated men and women among Sanaa protesters.

April 17 - Forces loyal to Saleh fire at a protest march in Sanaa, wounding at least 22 people, as opposition leaders meet Gulf Arab mediators in Saudi Arabia. April 18 - Members of Yemen’s ruling party including three former ministers from the Justice and Development Bloc, a new bloc to support the protests.

April 20 - More than 123 protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces since January.

April 23 Saleh agrees to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution. The move is agreed by opposition heads.

— The plan, drawn up the Gulf Cooperation Council, proposed that Saleh hand over power to his vice-president a month after an agreement is signed with the opposition, and that Saleh be granted immunity from prosecution for himself, family and aides.

April 24 - Protesters vow to step up street protests and said Saleh’s inner circle could still thwart the Gulf plan for him to step down. Demonstrators in Sanaa shout: “No negotiation, no dialogue — resign or flee.”

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit

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