Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has told a crowd of his supporters gathered in the capital, Sana’a, that he will resist the repeated calls from the opposition for him to step down.
Mr. Saleh spoke Friday, as both pro- and anti-government demonstrators rallied in the capital. Opposition organizers called Friday a “Day of Departure” as they demand President Saleh’s immediate resignation.
Yemeni soldiers have established checkpoints to search demonstrators entering the city.
Opponents of Mr. Saleh are pressing ahead with their weekly demonstration despite a newly imposed state of emergency that gives security forces sweeping powers to prevent protests and to detain suspects.
By late Thursday, security forces had deployed heavily throughout the capital, raising the possibility of confrontations. Earlier in the day, military forces loyal to the president clashed with army units supporting the opposition. The fighting took place in the southern town of Mukalla.
Also Thursday, Mr. Saleh discussed a possible solution to Yemen’s deepening political crisis with the country’s top military officer, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected to the opposition this week and sent troops to protect pro-democracy protesters in Sana’a.
Officials familiar with the negotiations said the talks are focusing on a civilian-led transitional council that would run the country until new parliamentary elections are held.