Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yemen regime allows peaceful protest in Sanaa

(AFP) October 27, 2011

SANAA — Yemeni security forces heavily deployed in Sanaa allowed a massive anti-regime rally on Thursday to cross the capital without intervening, for the first time since January, an AFP correspondent reported.

The protesters left Change Square, outside Sanaa University which has become the epicentre of anti-regime demonstrations, and marched towards Al-Zubairi Avenue in central Sanaa.

Over the past months, security forces had opened fire on protesters whenever they attempted to march towards the city centre.

A similar move last month sparked a wave of deadly violence that left dozens dead across the capital.

But security forces, led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's nephew Yehya, allowed protesters calling for the embattled leader to be prosecuted to peacefully demonstrate.

"Free people of the world, Saleh must be brought to justice," they chanted, calling the leader "a war criminal."

The protest took place as Sanaa was quiet Thursday, following two days of deadly clashes in the capital and Yemen's second largest city Taez.

Yemen has witnessed one of the longest and bloodiest uprisings of the Arab Spring, with hundreds of Yemenis dead and thousands more wounded since January.

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