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Yemen Parliament Approves State of Emergency

Members of Yemen's parliament raise their hands as they vote in favor of the state of emergency, March 23, 2011, declared by the country's President Ali Abdullah Saleh last week, in Sana'a

Yemen's parliament has approved a law imposing a state of emergency in the country amid protest-related violence.

The adoption of the emergency law Wednesday was expected, as Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party holds a majority of the parliamentary seats.

Saleh announced a state of emergency after gunmen loyal to the president opened fire on a group of protesters calling for his ouster Friday, killing 52 people.

A wave of government officials, tribal leaders and diplomats defected to the side of opposition protesters after the bloody crackdown. Yemen's top military figure, Major General Mohsen al-Ahmar, also defected to “support the peaceful revolution.”

The president on Tuesday warned military leaders that any attempt at a coup will lead to civil war. He also said any division within the military would have a negative impact on the entire nation.

A spokesman for Saleh said Tuesday the president was willing to hold early elections this year and leave office by January in the face of intensifying opposition protests against his 32-year-rule. Mr. Saleh had previously said he would hang on until his term ended in 2013.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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