Yemen

Pro-democracy protests continue in several governates

Source
Posted
Originally published

Mohammad bin Sallam

Published:04-04-2011

Sana'a, April 3rd - The protests and demonstrations in the squares of change and freedom, which have been ongoing for more than 2 months in the squares of freedom and change throughout the republic, are continuing in their call for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime to leave.

On Saturday morning the capital city witnessed a huge influx of citizens into 'Change Square', including women, children, and the elderly. This was in addition to hundreds of soldiers and government officials who support the revolution of the youth.

On the same day, in the afternoon, there was a march which spanned all the streets surrounding Change Square. The protestors chanted against the President, and called for the downfall of his regime.

The youthful protesters did not give much importance to the pro-Saleh protesters, saying that those who went to the demonstration were those whose "interests were being served by the regime, and that they only think of the present and not the future."

They talked of their pride in the surge of the Yemeni people into the squares of change on Friday, and the continuation of the huge numbers for the duration of their protests calling for Saleh to leave.

The youth protesters in Change Square in the capital made clear that the demonstrations would continue until the regime fell. They also refused any proposals that would end the protests and demonstrations before the fall of the regime.

In Hodeida Governate, at dawn on Saturday, the protesters in 'People's Square' were attacked with batons and hit by live bullets in an attempt to break up the protest. The attack left 7 people injured, and the security forces tore down a number of the protester's tents that had been erected on the street adjacent to the square.

In Taiz Governate the youth continued their protests in 'Liberation Square', and hundreds of academics and university students joined them. There were no reports of confrontations between them and security forces.

In front of a large crowd in 'Sabaeen Square' in Sana'a Present Ali Abdullah Saleh swore to sacrifice "everything that is dear for the people." This was during a speech he gave on Friday, which they called the Friday of Brotherhood, and Saleh wished that the opposition would not use inflammatory language.

The ruling party was able to gather 250,000 people from across Yemen on Friday in Sabaeen Square in support of the President, chanting "the people want Ali Abdullah Saleh."

On a related note Reuters said that: a number of Sana'a residents said that they received the equivalent of 250 USD for every person who participated in the protest supporting Saleh that was held in Sabaeen Square in Sana'a.

Other from outside Sana'a said that they received between 300 & 350 USD for participating.

Official documents revealed that the authorities have been enticing the crowds to come with large sums of money.

In a letter, which the Yemen Times has a copy of, sent by the head of the local council in Shu'ub in the capital city, Brigadier General Muhammed Al-Ulufi, to the Minister of State of the capital city, Abdulrahman Al-Akwa'a, Al-Ulufi asks to be reimbursed for the money that he spent on bringing people to the 'Friday of Brotherhood and Forgiveness'. The letter showed that the total amount of money spent in Shu'ub alone was 19,560,000 Yemeni Riyals.

The News Yemen website also stated that there was fighting between citizens, who participated in the Friday of Brotherhood that was organised by GPC Party supporters, in Sports City on Friday night because of disputes over money.

Sources said that while they were receiving the money they were owed for their attendance in the pro-Saleh festival, there was an escalation in words between some people which resulted in some stabbings occurring with jambiyas.

In light of the continuation of the protests and the increase in the unrest in Yemen, the British, French, American, and Russian authorities warned all citizens on non-essential business to leave Yemen immediately. They warned that the situation could mean that they are not able to evacuate them.

The British Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the situation in Yemen was "worsening quickly."

London called for "all parties" in Yemen to "calm down and undertake all necessary measures to stop the unrest."

It added that "the Yemeni people want their lawful requests met, and that the British government supports them in this."

In a worrying security development, two people set fire to one of the youth protesters on Friday night as he was leaving Change Square.

Numerous media outlets reported that the youth, Maher Ahmed Yasin (19 years old) was subjected attacked as he left Change Square in Sana'a by two people on a motorbike who set fire to him after they set him alight with petrol.

Sources said that the First Armoured Division, who were situated near where the incident occurred, were able to put out the fire, and they transported the youth to the Field Hospital and then to the Science and Technology University Hospital.

Sources added that the reason for the attack was that the protester was wearing a hat that was emblazoned with the phrase "the people want the trial of the murderer."