Yemen president fires cabinet

At least 52 people were killed in a bloody crackdown on protesters on Friday.

Yemen's embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh has fired his cabinet, according to a statement from his office.
Sunday's announcement comes after a month-long popular uprising calling for political reform and Saleh's resignation.
The president has asked the cabinet to serve as caretaker government until he forms a new one.
Several ministers have resigned from the government after security forces killed at least 52 protesters on Friday. Abdullah Alsaidi, Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations, has also quit in protest over the violence.
Adding even more pressure on Saleh, the country's most powerful tribal confederation on Sunday called on him to step down.
Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of Hashed, which includes Saleh's tribe, issued a statement asking the president to respond to the people's demands and leave peacefully. It was co-signed by several religious leaders.
Meanwhile, thousands joined the burial procession of some of those killed in the uprising. Around 30 bodies were laid out in neat rows and the square near Sanaa University was filled with mourners.
Saleh had declared Sunday a national day of mourning for the "martyrs for democracy," while blaming the opposition for "incitement and chaos" that had led to the killings.

Violence condemned

Saleh has been in power since 1978, and is facing one of the toughest challenges during his tenure.
The violence used against demonstrators has prompted condemnation from the UN and the US, which backs Yemen's government with hundreds of millions in military aid to battle an al-Qaeda offshoot.
Muslim clerics have called on Yemeni soldiers to disobey orders to shoot at demonstrators, and blamed Saleh for the slaughter on Friday.
Protesters are calling on president Saleh, in power since 1978, to step down [AFP]
"The defections are on all sides and this is just the beginning," Abdul Ghani Al Iryani, a political analyst in the capital, Sanaa, told Al Jazeera.
"I think if we don't come to some kind of national reconciliation, the defections will continue until the regime falls.
"The president is talking to various political groups but he's not talking to the main group, which is the youth in the square.
"If he wants to get out of this, he will have to address their concerns, he'll have to  include them in any national dialogue and he will have to accept the fact that much of his power needs to be transferred to a government of national unity."
Twenty-four parliamentarians have left the ruling party.
Huda al-Baan, Yemen's human rights minister, said she had resigned from the government and the ruling party in protest over the sniper attack on demonstrators.
She said in a statement late on Saturday that her resignation was to protest the "massacre" of demonstrators.
The undersecretary at the ministry, Ali Taysir, also resigned.
Nabil al-Faqih, the minister of tourism, resigned on Friday over the "unjustifiable use of force" against protesters, while the minister of religious endowments Hamoud al-Hattar resigned earlier in the week.
The chief of the state news agency has also stepped down, along with Yemen's ambassador to Lebanon.
Witnesses said pro-government "thugs" on Friday rained bullets from rooftops near a square close to Sanaa University, which for weeks has been the centre of demonstrations calling for the end of Saleh's rule.

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