SANAA (AFP) - Yemeni MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of a state of emergency declared by the president despite an appeal from youths at the forefront of anti-regime protests that it could lead to a new massacre. The opposition swiftly rejected the vote as illegal and fraudulent. What they had done to pass the state of emergency is fraud and we reject it, Abdul Razaq al-Hajri of the powerful opposition Al-Islah (Reform) party told AFP. Parliamentary officials said more than 160 MPs out of 164 who attended a special session voted for the step, which the president announced on Friday, hours after regime loyalists gunned down 52 protesters near the university. But Hajri said the turnout figure was fudged and that only 133 members attended. To take effect, the emergency law bill needed the approval of a majority in parliament and a quorum of more than 50 percent was required for a vote. The parliamentary opposition, independent MPs and members of embattled President Ali Abdullah Salehs own General Peoples Congress who have resigned, boycotted the session of Yemens 301-seat parliament. Before the vote, the protest movement warned of dire consequences. A vote in favour is equivalent to approving the massacre of the innocent, demonstrators camped at a square near Sanaa University since February 21 said in an appeal to the deputies. Saleh, who has ruled for more than three decades but now faces an escalating campaign for his removal, announced the state of emergency just hours after regime loyalists gunned down 52 demonstrators near the university. His regime has been hit by a wave of defections in the ranks of the military, among influential tribal chiefs, Muslim clerics and senior diplomats as well as within Salehs party, especially since Fridays massacre. Late on Tuesday, the president invited Yemens youths spearheading the protests to take part in an open, truthful and transparent dialogue away from narrow partisan interests, prioritising the countrys interests.