Yemeni Leader Makes Rare Speech to Supporters

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
An anti-government protestor reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 11, 2011. Yemen's embattled president on Thursday proposed a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of the parliament and judiciary, but thousands of unsatisfied protesters poured into the streets to demand his ouster. Opposition leaders promptly rejected President Ali Abdullah Saleh's offer and called for mass demonstrations Friday, marking a month since the protests began. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

An anti-government protestor reacts during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, March 11, 2011. Yemen's embattled president on Thursday proposed a new constitution guaranteeing the independence of the parliament and judiciary, but thousands of unsatisfied protesters poured into the streets to demand his ouster. Opposition leaders promptly rejected President Ali Abdullah Saleh's offer and called for mass demonstrations Friday, marking a month since the protests began. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemen's longtime ruler says he's ready to leave power but he doesn't trust his opposition, whom he called "drug dealers."
Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke in a rare appearance before a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters outside his presidential palace in the Yemeni capital Friday on a day of dueling demonstrations.
Across town, many more protesters gathered in a square to demand his ouster. They have done so for weeks, putting Saleh under pressure.
The Yemeni ruler of more than three decades says he wants to leave power peacefully, but his harsh descriptions of his opposition suggest defiance.
He accused his opponents of being a "small minority" and said they were drug dealers, money launderers and leaders of a rebellion in the country's north.


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