|Yemeni anti-government protesters have called on president Saleh to step down immediately [AFP]
Several members of Yemen's ruling General People’s Congress (JPC), including members of parliament and some ministers, have resigned from the party in protest against the violence and harassment used against anti-government demonstrators in the country.
Ali Al-Imrani, an MP from al-Baida province, and Fathi Tawfiq Abdulrahim, head of the finance committee of the Yemeni parliament, resigned from the JPC on Saturday, local sources told Al Jazeera.
This brings the number of resigned ruling party MPs to 13 since the wave of protests against Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule began.
Sam Yahya Al-Ahmar, the deputy culture minister, Hashid Abdullah al-Ahmar, the deputy minister for youth and sports and Nabil Al-Khameri, a businessman, have also quit the ruling party.
Al-Ahmar resignation comes a week after his brother Hussein Abdullah Al-Ahmar had left the party.
Tens of thousands of people continued with protests in several key cities across Yemen, including Sanaa, Aden, Taiz and Hadramawt, pressing on with demands that the president step down.
Protesters are also demanding an investigation into the killing of four people during protests on Friday in the northern town of Harf Sofyan, when soldiers opened fire, in an attack that also wounded seven others.
The government suspended classes at the universities in the capital Sanaa and in Aden, which have been the focal points for daily demonstrations, the Associated Press news agency reported on Saturday.
On Saturday, Britain's Foreign Office issued a statement advising its citizens against all travel to Yemen "in light of the increasing violence" there.
Human rights group, Amnesty International, estimates that at least 27 people have been killed since anti-government protests began on January 27.
On Friday, Saleh rejected a proposal by opposition groups that offered him a smooth exit from power by the end of 2011.
"The president rejected the proposal and is holding on to his previous offer," Yemen's opposition's rotating president, Mohammed al-Mutawakil, said.
Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, refuses to step down until his term ends in 2013.
The proposal was made this week by a coalition of opposition groups and religious scholars.
The offer sought to end the country's political crisis, calling for a "peaceful transition of power" from Saleh by the end of this year.
It also called for a probe into the deadly crackdown on the recent anti-government protests.
The proposal also called for steps to change the constitution and rewriting election laws to ensure fair representation in parliament, removing Saleh's relatives from leadership positions in the army and security forces, and a guaranteed right to peaceful protest.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies