SANAA (AFP) - Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Monday the majority of the people were behind him, even as his autocratic regime lost the support of top army generals and tribal leaders. Tanks were deployed in the capital as top generals pledged allegiance to the revolution and the countrys main tribal leader demanded President Salehs exit from power. Tanks took up positions in key locations across Sanaa including at the presidential palace, the central bank and the ministry of defence, but it was unclear what their orders were or who was in command. In the first of a series of body blows to Salehs authority, General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the Northwest Military District which includes Sanaa, announced he had joined the revolution. The crisis is getting more complicated and its pushing the country towards violence and civil war, the general said in a statement. According to what Im feeling, and according to the feelings of my partner commanders and soldiers... I announce our support and our peaceful backing to the youth revolution. We are going to fulfil our duties in preserving security and stability. One by one, dozens of officers of various ranks stood at the tent city near Sanaa University, where demonstrators have kept vigil since February 21 in spite of a wave of attacks, and publicly pledged to support the revolution. Eastern Military district chief General Mohammed Ali Mohsen also threw his support behind the protesters, as well as at least two other top generals, Nasser Ali Shuaybi in Hadramawt province and Faisal Rajab in the southern province of Lahij. Sadiq al-Ahmar, who leads the Hashid tribal federation, the largest in deeply tribal Yemen and a crucial source of Salehs power, told Al-Jazeera it was time for the embattled president to make a quiet exit. The deputy speaker of parliament, Himyar al-Ahmar, and the governor of the key southern province of Aden, Ahmed Qaatabi, also resigned in protest at the treatment of demonstrators. The defections came a day after Saleh sacked his cabinet in a bid to placate opposition calls for sweeping reforms in the key US ally. As the pillars of his power apparently collapsed beneath him, Saleh sent Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi on an urgent mission to Saudi Arabia with a secret message for the king, the state news agency reported. The regime has already lost the support of religious leaders and been weakened by the resignations of ministers, ambassadors and a host of ruling party MPs, but Saleh has refused to stand down until his term ends in 2013. His regime was internationally condemned after more than 50 people were killed when loyalist gunmen opened fire Friday on protesters in Sanaas University Square, the centre of the pro-democracy movement. The defection of top military officers to the opposition is likely to complicate Washingtons support for Saleh, whom it sees as a pillar of stability in a volatile country and a partner in the war against Al-Qaeda.