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Posts tagged ‘Uprising in Yemen’

Yemenis call for Saleh trial at ICC

Sun Oct 2, 2011

The youth movement in Yemen has called for the trial of the country’s dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On Saturday, the youth movement issued a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying that “at least 861 people have been killed and about 25,000 others wounded since January,” AFP reported.

“We call on the UN to refer Saleh, his sons and his gang to the International Criminal Court for their crimes against peaceful protesters,” the letter read.

The Yemeni movement also called on the international community to freeze the bank accounts and assets of “Saleh, his family, and their supporters in the regime.”

On Sunday, several Yemeni anti-government protesters were injured during clashes between the supporters of Saleh and his opponents near Change Square in the capital Sana’a.

Saleh said on Friday that he will not stand down if his opponents are allowed to compete in future elections and stay in influential positions.

“If we transfer power and they are there, this will mean that we have given in to a coup,” he said.

Saleh returned to the country from Saudi Arabia on September 23, where he was receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a June 3 rocket attack on the presidential palace.

The 69-year-old has repeatedly refused to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, according to which he would hand over power in return for immunity from prosecution.

According to local reports, hundreds of Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the popular uprising against the US-backed Saleh regime in late January.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/202355.html.

Prospect of civil war draws closer in Yemen

AHMED AL-HAJ | AP
Wednesday 21 September 2011

SANAA: The grim prospect of civil war in Yemen has drawn closer as mutinous soldiers have become more deeply involved in a rapidly spreading battle against regime forces for control of the capital.

A negotiated cease-fire Tuesday halted three days of fighting that killed dozens of people, but it will not hold without a quick resolution of the key dispute: Who will lead the nation.

A peaceful way out of Yemen’s seven-month crisis may not come easily, if at all, making it more likely to be settled in large-scale and ruinous street battles pitting renegade army soldiers and their allied tribal fighters against US-trained forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh and led by his son and one-time heir apparent, Ahmed.

Already, pro-regime forces reinforced their positions in their strongholds in the south of the capital, apparently in anticipation of renewed fighting. The potential for bloody strife has been shown in Yemen since the uprising against Saleh’s regime began in February, with hundreds of protesters killed and thousands wounded at the hands of security forces.

In the past three days, pro-regime forces killed more than 70 people, mostly protesters, using anti-aircraft guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. At least 23 people were killed in Sanaa on Tuesday as the fighting intensified and spread to sensitive areas of the capital before the cease-fire took hold after nightfall.

In one incident, 13 followers of a tribal leader who changed sides and joined the opposition in March were killed when mortar shells fired by pro-government forces rained down on the upscale Hedah area of southern Sanaa, also home to top regime figures.

“It’s a war zone,” said Sanaa activist Hakim Al-Masmari. “We can’t even sit near windows because we could be killed.”

Thousands have been forced to flee Sanaa for the relative safety of rural areas. Scores of pickup trucks and cars loaded with families and their belongings were seen early Tuesday heading out of the city, repeatedly shaken by loud explosions overnight.

The United States condemned the violence and called on all parties to exercise restraint. “We urge a prompt, impartial investigation into the events that led to the recent violence,” Victoria Nuland, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday.

Saleh, Yemen’s president for 33 years and a staunch US ally, has clung to power despite tens of thousands taking to the streets nearly daily since February to demand his ouster. At least three times he has backed away at the last minute from endorsing a resignation plan offered by his Gulf Arab neighbors and supported by the United States — handing over power in return for immunity.

He left Yemen in June for neighboring Saudi Arabia to be treated for serious wounds suffered in an attack on his compound. He has not returned to Yemen since, but the presence in Sanaa of his son, Ahmed, and other loyal family members meant the regime continued to fight for its survival.

Much is at stake in Yemen for the United States, its Gulf Arab allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, and the West. Yemen overlooks key shipping lanes in the Red and Arabian seas and is home to one of the world’s most dangerous Al-Qaeda branches, whose militants have staged or inspired a series of attacks on US territory. Already, the chaos has allowed Al-Qaeda militants to capture and hold a string of towns in nearly lawless southern Yemen.

With the prospect of a peaceful settlement remote, civil war becomes a realistic possibility, given that Yemen is a nation with deep tribal and regional divides, a checkered history of civil strife, and a chronically weak central government.

The nation’s north and the once-independent south fought it out in 1994. Another civil war would pit the renegade soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, perhaps the nation’s most combat-tested unit, against the Republican Guards led by Ahmed to decide the leadership question.

The 1st Armored Division claims about 20,000 fighters in Sanaa, and, according to security officials, has been training its men in urban warfare for most of the six months since it defected along with its commander, Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, and joined the anti-Saleh protesters. The division has tanks and armored personnel carriers but they have been hidden across the city to avoid being picked off by regime warplanes.

The Republican Guards boast much more armor, a large arsenal of rockets and about the same number of troops. As a backup, it can draw on the support of the US-trained and equipped Special Forces, another elite unit also led by Saleh’s son, and the Presidential Guards, led by Saleh’s nephew, Tariq, a commander notorious for brutality.

“The Republican Guards are the superior force on paper,” said military expert Hussein Mansour, a retired army brigadier. “But that makes little difference on the ground. It is all about street warfare and combat expertise.”

The division, which took part in every war fought in Yemen in the past three decades, also has Al-Ahmar for a seasoned commander whose combat experience is complemented by years as Saleh’s point man on the country’s complex tribal politics.

Ahmed, by contrast, has little combat experience and support outside segments of the military and several small tribes still loyal to him and his father.

The 1st Armored Division has endeared itself to the thousands of protesters camped in Sanaa’s central Change Square since its mutiny in March, pledging to protect them from by pro-regime forces.

The protesters have given the division weapons seized this week from a Republican Guards’ camp in the city and government buildings as part of a stepped-up campaign against the regime.

Unarmed, they also acted as human shields for the soldiers, providing them with cover until new positions in the capital were built and fortified.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://www.arabnews.com/node/391825.

Street Clashes Resume in Yemeni Capital

DOHA, Qatar, Sep 19 2011 (Al Jazeera) – At least 21 people have been killed and over 100 injured in fresh clashes on the streets of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, a day after 26 anti-government protesters were shot dead and hundreds wounded by troops and gunmen loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

According to reports, Monday’s deaths occurred as snipers fired upon passers-by and peaceful protesters demonstrating at Change Square.

“Help me, oh my God look at his slaughter!” said the father of a boy who died from a gunshot wound to the head.

“We were just in the car on Hayel Street (near the fighting). I stepped out to get some food and left my two boys in the car and I heard the older one scream. The little one was shot straight through the head.”

The clashes came as protesters tried to push further into territory held by government forces after extending their camp overnight.

The opposition had earlier vowed to press ahead with demonstrations despite Sunday’s crackdown.

A freelance journalist stationed in Yemen told Al Jazeera, “Everything points to more protest.”
Meanwhile, Abdu al-Janadi, Yemen’s deputy information minister, rejected accusations that the regime had planned attacks on the protesters and accused what he described as “unknown assailants” of carrying out the acts.

“This attack was prepared so as to kill as many people as they could. … This is a plot against all the Yemeni people,” al-Janadi told a British television station.

Also on Monday, two people were killed and 10 injured when security forces loyal to the president opened fire on protesters in the city of Taiz.

Sanaa in ‘darkness’

Tens of thousands of protesters calling for an end to president Saleh’s 33-year rule took to the streets of the capital on Sunday.

Mohammad al-Qadhi, a Yemeni journalist, said government snipers had fired on demonstrators from rooftops.

“I talked to one of the protesters. He told me shots were fired on chests, legs, and other parts of the body,” he said.

Witnesses said security forces and armed civilians opened fire on protesters who left Change Square, where they had camped since February demanding regime change, and marched towards the city centre.

“I spoke to a doctor yesterday who said that one of the wounds he’d seen in someone’s back was far bigger than could have been a rifle,” said a freelance journalist. “It was a big circle in the man’s back suggesting it was, you know, it was either anti-aircraft or RPG that was used.”

The journalist said he counted at least 16 bodies piled up in a mosque and most of them were shot in the head.

“Most of them are under 22. I saw one that was 16 years old,” he said.

“There are three hospitals in Sanaa filled to the brim with the injured. One doctor said he expects the death toll to rise over to 50 by tomorrow morning.”

Munir al Mawri, a Yemeni analyst, said the U.S. was making a big mistake by taking a neutral stance and dealing with the crackdown as if it were a political crisis that could be solved by the opposition and the government.

Power transfer

The renewed crackdown on protesters came amid reports that Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, Yemen’s vice-president, would sign a Gulf Arab initiative to arrange for a transfer of power in Yemen “within a week”.

“Within a week, the vice-president will sign the Gulf Initiative in the name of the president,” a high-ranking Saudi official, who requested anonymity, told reporters.

Last week, Saleh authorized Hadi to negotiate a power transfer with the opposition.

The initiative was proposed by the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council and sets the path for a peaceful transition of power from Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978.

According to the Saudi official, “among the guarantees demanded by Saleh are that his son be kept in the next government”.

Saleh left the country three months ago for Saudi Arabia where he has been recovering from a Jun. 3 attack on his presidential compound.

The president has since January faced protests over nepotism and corruption from reform activists inspired by the Arab Spring.

Source: Inter-Press Service (IPS).
Link: http://www.ipsnews.net/2011/09/street-clashes-resume-in-yemeni-capital/.

Protesters, defectors, army clash in Sanaa, Yemen

Sept. 19, 2011

SANAA, Yemen, Sept. 19 (UPI) — Diplomatic officials arrived in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday against a backdrop of street violence to try to organize a peaceful transfer of power.

The talks come as new clashes in Sanaa left one person dead Monday, bringing the death toll since fighting began Sunday to 29, a medic told CNN.

The state-run Saba news agency said U.N. envoy to Yemen JamalBin Omar and Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General Abdul Latif al-Zayyani would discuss a GCC transfer-of-power plan with Yemeni officials designated by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to act on his behalf.

The proposal, first offered in May, would allow Saleh to resign after transferring executive powers to Vice President Abd Rabo Mansou Hadi. Saleh initially indicated he would agree to the pact, but later refused to sign.

Medics reported protesters in Taiz were fired upon as government forces loyal to Saleh tried to disperse them. At least six people were injured.

Witnesses told CNN troops loyal to Saleh were seen firing randomly at protesters Monday as demonstrations were reported on nearly every street in Yemen’s capital.

Witnesses said explosions and gunfire could be heard from near an intersection where protesters have been conducting sit-ins for months, The New York Times reported. The First Armored Division took over the area Sunday as a protective detail for the protesters after clashing with security forces who defected and protesters who pitched tents in the major intersection, witnesses said.

Yemen’s divided military has been at a standoff for months.

Closed were roads leading to Change Square, where thousands had a 7-month sit-in, calling for the resignation of Saleh, recuperating in Saudi Arabia from a June attack on his residence.

The Hasaba zone in Sanaa’s northwestern part also saw violent clashes between tribesmen loyal to the revolution and the Republican Guards Sunday night. Hasaba is home to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, leader of the Hashed tribal confederation, whose tribes fought with government troops in May.

Witnesses to Sunday’s fighting told media outlets they saw snipers firing into crowds of demonstrators from rooftops and trucks.

The violence broke out when protesters marched from Sanaa University toward heavily guarded government buildings, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We were walking and chanting, ‘Peaceful, peaceful,'” Hamdi Mohammed, a demonstrator, told the Los Angeles Times. “But then the soldiers attacked us and we threw rocks and gasoline bombs. They opened fire with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. It was horrible what they did to us.”

Government officials said the demonstrators were trying to occupy government buildings and the state radio station, which protesters denied.

Officials said one soldier was killed and 65 were wounded in Sunday’s clashes.

The opposition National Council condemned the attack and urged the international community to act against Saleh’s regime, CNN reported.

“These crimes will not be forgotten and the regime will stand trial and in front of international questioning,” the council said in a statement.

The Interior Ministry denied it was behind the attacks and blamed militias for the violence.

Source: United Press International (UPI).
Link: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/09/19/Protesters-defectors-army-clash-in-Sanaa-Yemen/UPI-76491316430206/.

Yemeni forces attack protesters in Taizz

Thu Sep 15, 2011

Yemeni security forces open fire on anti-government protesters in the southern city of Taizz as the nation renew calls for an end to the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Press TV reports.

One protester was killed and 23 others were injured on Thursday in clashes between peaceful demonstrators and Yemen’s Republican Guards, who are commanded by Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali.

The new outbreak of violence comes after a series of explosions and heavy gunfire hit the capital, Sana’a, and the southern port city of Aden earlier in the day and left at least three civilians killed and five others wounded.

Yemen has been swept up by almost daily protests against Saleh, who refuses to release his three-decade long grip on power.

The Yemeni dictator has been in Saudi Arabia recovering from injuries he sustained in a rocket attack by pro-opposition tribal fighters on his palace in June.

On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report calling on the Yemeni regime to immediately release all prisoners detained during peaceful protests that erupted in the country in late January.

Navi Pillay also urged Sana’a to put an end to attacks and the use of live ammunition against civilians.

According to local reports, hundreds of Yemenis have been killed and thousands more have been injured since the outbreak of the popular uprising against the US-backed Saleh regime.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/199290.html.

Yemeni forces attack defected troops

Sun Sep 11, 2011

Yemeni security forces have attacked dissident troops loyal to an army general who defected to join anti-government protesters in the capital Sana’a, says an officer.

“They fired four tank shells at one of our positions,” AFP quoted a dissident officer saying on condition of anonymity on Sunday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The officer, who is loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, said the artillery fire aimed to increase tensions ahead of a meeting of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Sunday.

The meeting of the six-nation Persian Gulf bloc was expected to address the critical situation in Yemen.

The stalemate in Yemen has raised fears of a military confrontation between the security forces and troops loyal to Ahmar.

The security forces have deployed tanks and missile launchers on the hills overlooking Sana’a to reinforce their presence in the capital.

The opposition in Yemen says it will not agree with any deal unless Ali Abdullah Saleh would hand over power immediately and the issue of granting him immunity from prosecution is excluded.

On Saturday, Yemenis staged a protest rally in the southern city of Taizz to demand an end to what they described as the military rule of Saleh’s regime. The protesters called on the army and all remnants of the regime to leave power.

Saleh still remains in Saudi Arabia, where he fled to for medical treatment following a rocket attack on the Yemeni presidential palace in Sana’a on June 3.

Hundreds of Yemeni protesters have been killed in the regime’s brutal crackdown on demonstrations since the start of the popular uprising in late January.

Source: PressTV.
Link: http://www.presstv.com/detail/198570.html.

Tens of thousands demand ouster of Yemen’s President Saleh

SANAA (BNO NEWS) — Tens of thousands of protesters on Friday demonstrated across Yemen to demand the ousting of the country’s long-time ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh, eyewitnesses said.

Protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in major Yemeni cities amid heavy security to call for the overthrow of the regime, according to Xinhua news agency. They held banners calling for “a rapid, decisive action to settle revolt and unseat President Saleh.”

Meanwhile, government supporters vowed to wait for Saleh’s “soon” return and chanted slogans demanding the president to stay in power until “his constitutional term expires in 2013.” The embattled president is still in Saudi Arabia receiving treatment after he was wounded along with other government officials in the rocket attack which hit the mosque of the presidential palace in Sanaa on June 3.

Saleh said last week that he is “willing now to sign a Saudi-led power-transfer deal initiated in April by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” and directed his government to begin a power-transfer dialogue with the opposition. The GCC initiative, which Saleh had backed out from signing three times, included guarantees that Saleh will not be prosecuted after his resignation within 30 days from the acceptance date.

The initiative also called for holding presidential elections within two months from the date of Saleh’s departure as well as the establishment of a new government within 90 days. On Wednesday, Saleh’s ruling party proposed an extended 90-day transitional period for him to resign, which was rejected by the opposition that called Saleh to sign the deal first, Xinhua reported.

Protesters have continually demanded the resignation of government leaders and President Saleh, who has ruled the country for 33 years. Tensions have soared as both the government forces and the pro- protests defected army have recently deployed heavily troops in central cities, including the capital Sanaa.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.
Link: http://wireupdate.com/wires/19995/tens-of-thousands-demand-ouster-of-yemens-president-saleh/.

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