Monday, February 21, 2011

Losses Reported as Protests Escalate in Yemen

Losses Reported as Protests Escalate in Yemen

Fuad Rajeh

Sana'a-Feb 20, 2011, As the peaceful protests demanding the departure of the regime entered a new stage in Yemen, traders in the capital Sana'a said on Sunday violent protests and bullies have started to affect their businesses causing losses initially estimated in tens of millions of Yemeni riyals.

Shops continue to close down amid fears of acts of bullies and violent demonstrators, particularly in populous areas such as Tahrir Square in downtown Sana'a.

These areas have resembled ghost towns, traders complained.

Large tents such as those in Tahrir Square forced many shops in one of the most shopping hubs in the capital to close down after transport means and people have become unable to reach shops, shopkeepers told the News Yemen.

"Traders are concerned as many unfamiliar people [bullies] armed with batons are roaming the streets without specific goals," a restaurant owner was quoted as saying by the website.

Small businesses reported more than YR 70 million in losses so far as daily shopping arteries including Tahrir Square and Sana'a University have become gathering points for protests that turn violent, deputy chairman of the Secretariat Capital Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Also, big institutions including banks have closed down and closures are continuing as the protests are continuing to expand and spread across the republic, said Muhammad Salah.

In response to the complaint of the traders, the chamber and local officials held a meeting that urged to eliminate the tents in Tahrir Square and the protesters to avoid populous areas, he said, adding that the meeting also urged the shops to reopen.

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