Yemeni tourism minister Nabil Al-Fakeh has resigned his post following a number of deaths as forces loyal to the government attempt to quell a popular uprising.
Troops fired on anti-government protesters in the capital Sana’a over the weekend, with up to fifty deaths confirmed.
Nabil Al-Fakeh has become the first cabinet member to defect in the crisis.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh subsequently fired his entire cabinet in apparent response to protests against his rule.
He asked them to stay in place in a caretaker capacity.
Today, three senior army commanders sided with the popular movement calling for the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the army’s 1st Armoured Division, was the most senior of the three commanders to join the opposition.
He announced his defection in a message delivered by a close aide to protest leaders at the square near Sana’a University that has become the epicentre of their movement.
Yemen is one of a number of countries in the region that have seen unrest since the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia were ousted in popular revolts.
The president has been in power for 32 years, facing a separatist movement in the south, a branch of al-Qaeda, and a periodic conflict with Shia tribes in the north.