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SANAA (Reuters) – Members of Yemen's ruling party including three former ministers formed a new bloc on Monday to support protests against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
At least 88 people were wounded on Monday in the Red Sea port of Hudaida as plainclothes police fired bullets and teargas at protesters, who responded by hurling stones, witnesses and doctors said.
After years of backing Saleh as a bulwark against regional instability and the activities of al Qaeda's active Yemeni branch, Saudi Arabia and the United States are now pressing him to negotiate with the opposition on handing over power.
The new party includes former ministers for tourism, human rights and transport from the ruling party, and a number of members of parliament, who joined a stream of former officials who have already deserted Saleh.
A ruling party official told Reuters a high-level delegation from the party would head to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, for a meeting there on Tuesday.