Business Politics and Current Affairs

January 27, 2011

Anti Government Revolution – Rising Up In Yemen After Tunisia

Filed under: Uncategorized — ispoli @ 2:26 pm

Tens of thousands of people in Yemen have taken to the streets in the country’s capital, calling for an end to the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president.

Inspired by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt, opposition members and youth activists are rallying at four different locations in Sanaa on Thursday, chanting for Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, to step down.

"Enough being in power for [over] 30 years," protesters shouted during the demonstrations.

They also referred to the ouster of Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, saying he was "gone in just [over] 20 years".

"No to extending [presidential tenure]. No to bequeathing [the
presidency]," they chanted.

An opposition activist said that the staging of the demonstration in four separate parts of the capital was aimed at distracting the security forces.

One area chosen for the protest was outside Sanaa University. Security measures at the demonstrations appeared relaxed, but were tight around the interior ministry and the central bank.

‘Not like Tunisia’

Meanwhile Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress held counter marches attended by thousands of the government’s backers.

"No to toppling democracy and the constitution," the president’s supporters said in their banners.

Motahar Rashad al-Masri, the Yemeni interior minister, ruled out any resemblance between the protests in Yemen and the public outcry in Tunisia and Egypt.

"Yemen is not like Tunisia," he said, adding that Yemen was a "democratic country" and that the demonstrations were peaceful.

He told Al Jazeera that Yemeni authorities will not curb any demonstrations that are peaceful, regardless of their size.

Seven-year mandate

Saleh was re-elected in September 2006 for a seven-year mandate.

A draft amendment of the constitution, under discussion in parliament despite opposition protests, could allow him – if passed – to remain in office for life.

Saleh is also accused of wanting to pass the reins of power in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state to his eldest son Ahmed, who heads the elite Presidential Guard.

But in a televised address on Sunday, Saleh denied such accusations. "We are a republic. We reject bequeathing (the presidency)", he said.

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