Saleh Says Only Poll Defeat will Make him Quit, Protester Dies of Wounds

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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978, said on Monday that only defeat at the ballot box will make him quit, as he faced growing calls to step down.

"If they want me to quit, I will only leave through the ballot box," Saleh told a news conference as thousands of protesters, including opposition MPs, gathered outside Sanaa University to demand his departure.

Police shot dead a protester and wounded four in the main southern city of Aden on Monday, witnesses and medics told Agence France Presse.

Ali al-Khalaqi died of his wounds at a hospital in Aden. One of the four others receiving treatment is seriously wounded, medics told AFP.

Khalaqi is the 12th protester to die in Aden since February 16, according to an AFP tally. Dozens have been wounded.

Meanwhile, Yemeni clerics issued a statement prohibiting the use of force against protesters, which they described as a "crime," and calling for a ban on arbitrary arrest and torture.

"Any act of beating or killing of protesters is a deliberate crime," said the association of Yemeni clerics headed by Sheikh Abdul Majid Zindani.

The clerics demanded a ban on "arbitrary arrest and (all forms of) torture" and said that pro-government rallies should be held away from protest demonstrations to avoid the deadly clashes of recent days.

Zindani is blacklisted as a "global terrorist" by Washington for his suspected links to al-Qaida but the association groups clerics of both Yemen's Sunni majority and its Zaidi minority, from which Saleh hails.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power since 1978, said on Monday that only defeat at the ballot box will make him quit, as he faced growing calls to step down.

"If they want me to quit, I will only leave through the ballot box," Saleh told a news conference as thousands of protesters, including opposition MPs, gathered outside Sanaa University to demand his departure.

Police shot dead a protester and wounded four in the main southern city of Aden on Monday, witnesses and medics told Agence France Presse.

Ali al-Khalaqi died of his wounds at a hospital in Aden. One of the four others receiving treatment is seriously wounded, medics told AFP.

Khalaqi is the 12th protester to die in Aden since February 16, according to an AFP tally. Dozens have been wounded.

Meanwhile, Yemeni clerics issued a statement prohibiting the use of force against protesters, which they described as a "crime," and calling for a ban on arbitrary arrest and torture.

"Any act of beating or killing of protesters is a deliberate crime," said the association of Yemeni clerics headed by Sheikh Abdul Majid Zindani.

The clerics demanded a ban on "arbitrary arrest and (all forms of) torture" and said that pro-government rallies should be held away from protest demonstrations to avoid the deadly clashes of recent days.

Zindani is blacklisted as a "global terrorist" by Washington for his suspected links to al-Qaida but the association groups clerics of both Yemen's Sunni majority and its Zaidi minority, from which Saleh hails.

Later in the day, tens of thousands of supporters of the Shiite Houthi rebel group protested in the northern city of Saada to demand Saleh's ouster, a tribal leader said.

"Tens of thousands protested today, as called for by (Houthi rebel chief) Sayyed Abdul Malek al-Houthi and opposition MPs," the tribal leader told AFP.

Saada is the stronghold of the Zaidi Shiite rebels, who from 2004 fought six wars with Saleh's government before signing a peace treaty with the government in 2010.