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Yemeni gov't calls on protesters to leave sit-in squares amid escalating tension

(Xinhua)

11:14, August 16, 2011

SANAA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni Higher Security Committee on Monday urged anti-government protesters in major cities to leave the squares where they had been staging sit-in for months to demand President Ali Abdullah Saleh's outer, state media reported.

"We call on the protesters to go back homes and follow those who have already left the squares to avoid unrest, as those who insist on camping are wanted by the ministry," the committee said in a statement, quoted by official Saba news agency.

"We warn all citizens not to be misled by the opposition entities that incite protestors to carry out riots, chaos and sedition," said the committee, adding that "the security services have managed to foil a number of terrorist attacks plotted inside the squares targeting people, government and private interests."

Yemen has been embroiled in a severe political crisis since the eruption of anti-government protests against Saleh's 33-year rule in late January.

The armed supporters of Saleh, who is recuperating in Riyadh, and the protesters backed by opposition and defected army forces are gearing up confrontations on Wednesday, when the opposition coalition will declare a transitional ruling council despite the government's warning, according to sources affiliated with the rivals.

Western embassies in the capital are on high alert, asking the Yemeni Interior Ministry to reinforce security as a precautionary measure to deal with any possible conflicts, an official of the ministry told Xinhua.

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