Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Deaths in Yemen: Who Kills Whom!

Fuad Rajeh

Tens were killed and thousands injured just in two days as the unrest in Yemen entered 'a dangerous phase' which observers said was the culmination of the months-long peaceful sit-ins to oust the regime.

Observers also said that what is happening in Yemen now, mainly in Taiz where the violence is continuing, meant the end of the reckless regime is very close.

The question remains: who was responsible for the deaths and injuries in the country and why?

"Any peaceful revolution in any country must experience difficulties including official crackdown, but at the end the people win," said Ali al Jaradi, an analyst.

The killings in Taiz, Sana'a and other cities come within the official violence exercised by the authorities, which trained and used professional snipers to kill the youths, who are ready to sacrifice themselves to liberate Yemen from a 33-year oppressive regime," he said.

However, there should not be fears on the uprising because the Yemeni people convinced the whole world that there is only one option to change: the peaceful option, said al Jaradi, adding that the Yemeni people also have values preventing them from joining the killers or taking arms at a time when the government is seeking to drag the peaceful revolution to violence.

The casualties from the peaceful protesters occurred when the antigovernment protests had been quelled by those who were believed to be pro-government forces out of uniform and the government supporters, who fired live bullets and 'suspicious' teargas at the demonstrations in Taiz, Hodeida and the capital Sana'a.

Amid these regrettable events, the West’s positions toward the Yemeni crisis changed and varied from urging Saleh to transfer power quickly with some suggesting that take place within a week and others within the next 48 hours, to suspending aid to Yemen amid the deadly crackdown on the protesters demanding changes including the resignation of Saleh.

Saleh has agreed to meet the opposition in Saudi Arabia after the GCC offered to receive them over the current crisis.

Also, the antigovernment protesters appreciated the GCC interest in Yemen’s stability and offering to hold talks in Saudi capital over the current situation, as they insisted the only initiative they accept should call for an immediate resignation of Saleh.

Though eyewitnesses including activists blamed the authorities for the continuous deadly crackdown on the demonstrations, a spokesman for the government said on Monday that clashes took place between the pro and antigovernment protesters in some cities, denying the involvement of the security forces in violence or illegal acts.

Abdul Janadi, Deputy Information Minister, said the pro-government protesters stood up to the other protesters, who wanted to occupy the public and government compounds including republican palaces within the sabotage schemes of the opposition and its partners.

It is untrue that the security forces attacked the people. The forces, who sometimes are dispatched unarmed, disengaged the clashes. They fired bullets in the air and teargas, so some casualties took place accidentally," he said.

Saboteurs and armed pro-opposition people infiltrated into the protests to commit crimes, he said, wondering: should any violence be linked to the government?

Meanwhile the opposition, which is responsible for the current crisis, is taking advantage of the current situation to win international support, he said.

The protesters in all cities believe nothing can stop them and that the revolution united the people towards one goal: a new Yemen.

"What the regime is doing makes its end very close. Nothing will stop us……they are killing us but can't kill our belief in change," said Sadiq Abdul Karim, a 29-year protester in Taiz. "Our revolution will continue and soon we will say goodbye to Saleh".

The continuous attacks on the anti-government protesters and firing live bullets and prohibited gas to disperse them convinced us there should be suitable measures to deter the government from further bloodshed and confiscating the rights of the people, said activists in the squares of change and freedom in Sana'a and Taiz.

Ahmed Saif Hashid, a former MP and an activist among the youth peaceful protests leaders in Sana'a, said a legal team is taking shape to collect evidence and file lawsuits against the regime to the international criminal court.

"As heinous attacks against the antigovernment protesters are continuing, the people should strongly demand to open trials for those who planned and executed these attacks. We urgently need a legal team to refer the crimes against humanity in Yemen to the international concerned bodies," he said

In the coming days, we intend to escalate our protest to civil disobedience and there should be united plans to conduct this in all cities to intensify the public pressure on the regime to force it stand down, added Hashid.

Ghazi al Sami'e, an activist in Taiz, added that the protesters plan to escalate the antigovernment protests through: holding massive demonstrations; calling for civil disobedience and convincing the people to refuse paying any bills.

The attacks on the anti-government protesters boost our determination to continue our struggle and reinforce our belief that the downfall of the regime has become very close, said Abdellah Sumaih, a 24-protester in the Crater square, Aden.

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