Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yemen Army Opens Fire on Anti-Government Protesters in Sana'a

SANAA, Apr 17, 2011- (AP/The Huffington Post) — Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across Yemen on Sunday, denouncing embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his remarks against women taking part in protest rallies.

Reuters reports that military forces loyal to Saleh opened fire on protesters in the capital, Sanaa, when they tried to march in a street outside their normal protest zone. Witnesses reported that the wounded were being rushed to the hospital.

In a speech Friday, Saleh condemned the mingling of men and women at protests in the capital and said it violated Islamic law. The comments enraged many in Yemen, and prompted the youth movement leading the anti-Saleh protests to call for mass demonstrations Sunday dubbed a day of "honor and dignity."

The call drew a massive turnout across the nation, with more than 100,000 people taking to the streets in Taiz and tens of thousands more marching in Ibb, Aden, Shabwa and other cities. The participation of women in the demonstrations, which also demanded the president step down, was strong.

Abdel-Malek al-Youssefi, an activist and organizer with the youth movement said the protests could well be "the last nail in Saleh's coffin."

Like many countries in the region, Yemen has been wracked with anti-government demonstrations for the last two months. The protesters are calling for steps to improve livelihoods and open up the country's restricted political life.

Though it was a young woman who first led anti-Saleh demonstrations on a university campus in late January, women didn't begin taking part in large numbers until early March. It was a startling step considering the Muslim nation is a largely tribal society with deeply conservative social and religious traditions.

President is keen on women's participation in political action

SANA'A, April 17 (Saba)- President Ali Abdullah Saleh has affirmed his keenness to strengthen women's participation in political action and in all institutions of the State.

This came during his meeting on Sunday with a number of women's leaderships, who expressed their appreciation for encouragement, care and support provided by the president to women in the country.

President Saleh said that Yemeni women have proven that they have sufficient awareness and care about the national issues more than some people.

"We do not suspect our mothers, daughters or sisters. Women are the best and more honorable than to say anything about", he said.

He wondered how those, who sit-in in front of Sana'a University, permitted to themselves to leave women in the streets, while they claim to not mix.

"When we talked and said why mixing, that is because of our worry about our daughters, sisters and mothers from mob and anarchists", the president explained.

President Saleh noted that women have demonstrated a rare courage in this crisis in all parts of the country, highly valuing their role in the current crisis.

He renewed emphasis to women's leaderships, saying "We will not let you down whatever the circumstances ".

Yemeni women protest against Saleh's remarks for second day

By Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari

Sana'a, Apr 17, 2011- (CNN) -- For the second day in a row, thousands of Yemeni women took to the streets in several of the country's provinces to condemn remarks made by President Ali Abdullah Saleh -- comments they saw as an attack on their honor.

In a short speech given to his supporters on Friday, Saleh said women who were protesting against his regime were violating Yemeni cultural norms that prohibit women mixing with men who are not direct relatives. He called it forbidden behavior in Islam and advised women to stay home.

Demonstrations were organized across Yemen on Sunday, in what was being called the "Day of Honor and Dignity".

"Look Saleh, at the power of women," said Raiofa Nasser, a female activist who took part in Sunday's march in Sanaa, the country's capital. "Many women were avoiding the protests, but since Saleh's verbal attack on women, we will not go home and will continue protesting until he is forced to leave the presidency."

In addition to Sanaa, women also marched Sunday in the provinces of Shabwa, Dhammar, Baitha, Taiz and Ibb, showing how angry they were at Saleh for what they saw as an insult to their dignity.

"Even conservative women will join the protests now, to prove to anyone who doubts that women will take part in Yemen's future rule," said Salma Sabra, a human rights activist in Aden. "Women have always been strong in Yemen, and we will not accept being degraded by our ruler."

Women took to the streets in 10 of Yemen's provinces on Saturday as well, holding firm on their demands that Saleh step down. Prominent activist Tawakkol Karman said Saleh was shocked to see women leading Yemen's revolt.

"Saleh has finally shown the world his real face and his hatred against women," said Karman, a leading member of Islah, the largest opposition party in Yemen. Karman said Saleh is scared he will be known as the leader overthrown by women.

The government, meanwhile, said protesters had "misused" Saleh's comments, prompted by a belief that the opposition was using women and youth to promote their own agenda, and not the greater good of Yemen.

"Saleh is the first to support women's rights and has always shown interest in involving women in Yemeni politics," said Zaid Thari, a senior member of the ruling General People's Congress party. "Saleh was advising protesters and not acting against women in specific."

Anti-government demonstrators in Yemen have been calling for reforms and the ouster of Saleh for many weeks. Recently, women have shown their faces in greater numbers.

Yemen's largest opposition bloc rejected Saleh's remarks about women. The Joint Meeting Parties said Islam grants women more rights.

"Saleh's comments against the purity of women protesters are a clear indication that his oppressive regime does not respect any rights of expression and wants women to be led by men at all times," said Mohammed Sabri, a senior bloc official.

Even the conservative tribal coalition of Mareb and Jawf warned Saleh against attacking women's rights, saying that tribal culture has always given women the right to lead if they so desire.

"Women ruled Yemen numerous times in the past with success," said Ali Obaid, a senior member of the coalition. "Yemeni women lead the Yemeni revolution and men follow."

Ministry Hands to Prosecution 14 Suspects in Killing, Injuring Protesters

Sana'a, Apr 17, 2011- The Interior Ministry handed 14 suspects in the killings and injuries of the protesters outside Sana'a University on March 18 to the General Prosecution, a source at the ministry said on Sunday.

The 14 were of those wanted in connection with sniping and opening fire on the protesters, who were calling for the ouster of the regime, killing at least 60 and injuring hundreds of them.

They were arrested and handed to the General Prosecution after arrest warrantees had been issued for them, the source said, adding that 30 more others were handed to be investigated in connection with the attacks on the protesters in the square of change.

On March 18, gunmen, who were believed to be policemen out of uniform, sniped the antigovernment protesters from over and inside buildings nearby the square after the Friday prayers.

The attacks drew huge local and external condemnation with international rights organization urging the government to investigate them and bring those responsible to justice.

Tens of thousands have been staging a sit-in in the square for months to call for an immediate exit of President Saleh.

Source: Yemen Post

Yemen's Opposition to Meet in Saudi to Discuss the Current Situation in the Country

By Fatik Al-Rodaini

Sana'a, Apr 17, 2011- Representatives from Yemen's opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties, JMP, would meet on Sunday in Saudi Arabia with the Gulf Cooperation Council's ministers who will give Yemen's opposition some details about the GCC initiative.

A delegation from the opposition coalition will be headed by Mohamed Ba Sendio, the rotating president of the coalition, Yasin Saeed Noman, Security General of Isalah Party, Abdul Wahab Al-Alnsi, Security Genral of Nasserite Party, Sultan Al-Twani, and a member of dialogue committee, Sekher Al-Wajeh.

According to Saudi Press Agency, that the meeting will discuss the latest developments in Yemen in light of the agreement reached by GCC countries in the 31st exceptional meeting of the Ministerial Council held on 3 April 2011 and the 32nd exceptional session held on 10 April 2011 on making contacts with the Yemeni government and opposition through the GCC initiative.

Yesterday, the president of the opposition coalition, Yasin Saeed Noman, told Aljazeera Satellite Channel that the delegation will brief the Gulf ministers on what is happening in Yemen.

Noman accused Saleh's ruling party of misleading our brothers in the Arabian Gulf and that was seen as a roadblock to explain the things here as they are being done as the situations are gravely deteriorating.

The GCC states previously announced an initiative calling on Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. The GCC later amended the initiative to call for Saleh to transfer his powers to his deputy, raising concerns among the anti-regime protesters and the opposition that the president might remain in office, even if only as a figurehead.