Yemen's president vows reforms, greater powers to parliament

Yemen's president vows reforms, greater powers to parliament

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, facing resolute protests calling for his ouster, vowed on Thursday to implement constitutional reforms and called on the opposition to enter into dialogue with his government, dpa reported.

Speaking before thousands of loyalists in the capital, Sana'a, Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, also said more powers would be allocated to parliament.

Saleh's remarks come just one day after rights groups criticized his government for authorizing the use of live fire on anti- government protesters.

"Shooting into crowds is no way to respond to peaceful protests," said Joe Stork, Human Rights Watch's deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

In the country's capital, at least 80 others were injured after Yemeni police used live ammunition and tear gas in a bid to disperse protesters outside Sana'a University late Tuesday.

The Yemen Post reported that at least 18 of those injured were in critical condition.

Earlier this week, parliament approved the formation of a fact- finding committee to investigate earlier deadly clashes, which left at least one prisoner dead, when security fired on prisoners who were also protesting against the government in the Central Prison in Sana'a.

Mohammed Qahtan, the spokesman of the opposition coalition - known as the Joint Meeting Parties - denounced the attacks and told the Yemen Post that he holds Saleh personally responsible.

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