San'a, Yemen Yemen’s besieged president defiantly rejected a proposal Saturday to leave office early and possibly end weeks of protests and bloodshed, while Oman’s ruler pushed out three more top-level officials in attempts to quell widening demands for economic reforms and justice for the killing of a demonstrator.
Hundreds of Egyptians gathered outside Cairo offices of the nation’s internal security services — the main enforcers of Hosni Mubarak’s former regime — a day after protesters beat officials inside the agency’s building in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. In Saudi Arabia, authorities banned all forms of demonstration as calls grow for protest marches Friday in the Western-allied kingdom.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh — a key U.S. ally in the campaign against al-Qaida — dug in deeper. He rebuffed an offer by an opposition coalition to end the country’s political crisis by stepping down by the end of the year. He instead stuck to his pledge to stay in office until elections in 2013 but not seek re-election.
In neighboring Oman, meanwhile, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who has led the nation for four decades, is tossing out more concessions to try to bring an end to a rare show of dissent. Protesters — including oil workers in the south — are pressing for more jobs and economic and political reforms. But unlike the other countries they have pledged their loyalty to the hereditary monarch.
The sultan replaced three top government positions Saturday — just a week after dismissing six other Cabinet officials.