Yemen: Saleh tries to hold on with violence

April 2, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied across Yemen on April 1 in the largest mobilisation so far calling for the removal of President Ali Abdulla Saleh, Associated Press said that day.
Protests took place in at least 14 provinces.

Saleh’s unwillingness to stand down has claimed m ore lives. Protesters have blamed Saleh for an explosion in an ammunition factory that killed about 150 people on March 28.

Protesters said Saleh’s government allowed the factory to be overrun by supposed al-Qaeda members who left the factory open for looters, said on March 30.

The factory later exploded in an accident.

Yemen’s opposition announced a series of demands including the “removal of Saleh and a ban on his family from involvement in military and civil affairs as well as the abolition of the constitution and a six-month transition period during which parliament and the Shura Council are dissolved,” said on March 31.

The opposition also demanded the information ministry be abolished to allow for greater media freedom. They also called for the state security apparatus to be dismantled.

The US continues to support the Saleh regime — despite the months-long protests calling for Saleh to step down and brutal repression from government security forces.

US ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein “affirm[ed] his country’s keenness on Yemen’s unity, stability and security”, the Yemen state-run Saba news agency said on March 30.

Feierstein called for talks between the government and protesters, as a way to preserve the Saleh regime.

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