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Yemen: At the Boiling Point? (Video)

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

Weeks of pro- and anti-government protests in Yemen are beginning to change the country's political atmosphere.

Wednesday, February 23, President Ali Abdullah Saleh demanded [ar] security forces take action against violence among demonstrators. Saleh ordered the forces to physically separate pro- and anti-government groups to reduce the chance of fighting.

This came after pro-government “thugs” used knives and guns to attack students holding a sit-in against the government at the University of Sanaa, killing at least one person wounding up to 20 more. The violence prompted seven members of Parliament to resign.

On YouTube, belaquood uploaded a video on February 23, showing police separating protesters from different political factions. It's titled: “Thanks to the policemen for keeping away the thugs.”

The goodwill will certainly be tested. Protests took place on Thursday, February 24 in Sanaa, Aden and Hodeidah, the country's fourth-largest city. A bomb exploded in the southern town of Lawdar, killing at least one person.

Finally, 11 more MPs from the ruling party reportedly resigned.

From Twitter:

@shephardm: Reuters reports that bomb during demonstration in Aden kills one, injuries two. City is heart of southern separation movement. #yemen. #yf.

@JNovak_Yemen: Bomb kills 1 in #Yemen (2 words- deniable proxies) #YF #Saleh http://bikyamasr.com/wordpress/?p=28451

In more Tweets from Thursday's events:

@alnitak250: Protests in all major cities in #Yemen today – In Sana'a anti-govt at university, pro-govt at Tharir sq – fears the two groups may clash #YF

@c0ri: Wow, #Yemen is at the boiling point. Today is more protesters that I've seen yet. I think they are where #Egypt was 2 weeks ago.

@ThomasFan2010 Power to the People!!! #Yemen!

@shephardm: Mood in anti-Saleh camp peaceful just before sunset. Just watched a wedding in fact. Tents, people chewing qat, shouting “Ali out.” #yemen.

Also, an unemployed man reportedly committed suicide Thursday by setting himself on fire.

Protesters in Yemen have called for political reforms and the resignation of Saleh, who they claim looks the other way regarding corruption, poverty and the violence in the country.

After the fall of Egypt's Honsi Mubarek, Saleh is the second-longest serving leader with strong ties to the United States to be targeted by protesters. The US is extremely worried about the number of Al Qaida members operating in the country, and Saleh has benefited from the United State's war on terrorism. The Associated Press reports that the US sent $155 million to Yemen in military aid in 2010.

On Friday, February 25 it looks like things may heat up again. Pro-government groups are planning a million-man march in Sanaa. A reporter from Yemen told the Guardian of worries the atmosphere could create hostility between the marchers and the students sitting-in on the outskirts of town. Unions also announced they would continue marching against the government, demanding more help for basic goods and to improve the security situation.

In other moves to try to placate the opposition, Saleh also suggested forming a government of national unity to form until the upcoming elections in 2013. Saleh has been in power since 1979, and he recently promised not to run in the 2013 Presidential election.

Commentator Jane Novak dismissed the rumors of a new government of national unity:

@JNovak_Yemen: #Yemen #AliSaleh's latest ploy to retain power, co-opt #protests is a “national unity gov't” http://yemenonline.info/news-1965.html #YF

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

  • http://omaymen.wordpress.com rothena aymen

    I don’t understand why those leaders wont step down frompower?

    10 years is sooooooooo much !!!!!!

    So what about 30 years and over. I don’t think those leaders have something new to give their people. Everything in life has a certain validity even iron has certain validity when it finish we throw it and buy new. So what about those leaders?

    Retirment is at the age of 65,when they need someone for his qulifications they extend 2 years for him as maximum.not 13 years.We do not see nor touch any development in the reign under these rulers. All of the have to step down and give the opportunity to those qualified political youth minds.

    We are looking for new blood

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