Anti-corruption protests staged by Yemeni soldiers following handover of power from strongman Saleh to his deputy
AFP , Thursday 1 Mar 2012
Hundreds of Yemeni soldiers staged protests at several military institutions across the country on Thursday demanding the departure of their chiefs, whom they accuse of corruption.
The demonstrations come just days after Ali Abdullah Saleh formally handed power to his deputy Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi following a year of protest.
Around 500 soldiers and officers from the First Brigade of Marine Infantry, based on the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Gulf of Aden, protested outside Hadi's residence in the capital Sanaa, an AFP correspondent reported.
The soldiers were calling for the ouster of Brigadier General Hussein Khairan whom they accuse of corruption.
Several soldiers told AFP that the remaining officers were also staging a sit-in at their base in Socotra.
Meanwhile, air force soldiers held a massive rally that began outside Hadi's residence and headed towards the air base near Sanaa International Airport, calling for the ouster of air force commander General Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar.
Military sources said that protests against Ahmar, a half brother of Saleh, were also being held at other air bases—Al-Anad in the south and in Taez, Yemen's second city.
Anti-corruption strikes have spread across several military and government departments in the impoverished Arab country, where the economy is on the brink of collapse after last year's popular uprising and months of violence.
Saleh finally stepped down on Monday after 33 years in power, based on a Gulf-brokered power transfer deal he signed in November.
But during his time in office, he carefully chose members of his regime, appointing relatives to head the country's military and security apparatus.
In addition to his half brother, Saleh's son commands the elite Republican Guard troops while his nephew Yehya commands the central security services and Tariq, another nephew, controls the presidential guard.
The power transfer deal stipulates that during the two-year interim period, Hadi will oversee the restructuring of the army.