Rival rallies ahead of elections
By Nasser Arrabyee,27/01/2011
Tens of thousands of Yemenis in the Yemeni capital Sana’a participated Thursday in eight rival rallies, four by the opposition parties and four others by the ruling party. Parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held next April, was the main topic for all rallies of both sides.
The main slogans of the opposition were: No for unilateral procedures taken by the ruling party, no for elections, no for constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling party. Slogans and placards demanded President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave power.
While speaking masses, a prominent politician demanded president Saleh to step down. “We are here to say enough, enough, the president should go,” said the opposition politician Mohammed Al Sabri, who attended the rally which was held nearby the house of Abdullah Al Ahmar, in Al Hasab area.
From their side, the ruling party rallies were chanting: Yes for elections on time, yes for constitutional amendments, no for violence and conspiracy against the homeland.
No violence, or riot cases were noticed, but security measures were exceptional in the city as anti-riot forces were deployed in almost all the places close to the rallies areas since early morning .
However, these rallies are not new, not strange. Both sides have been holding similar rallies over the last two weeks in the provinces outside Sana’a.
Maybe the new thing now is to have eight rallies in one city like Sana’a on the same time and almost at the same places.
The two sides, the ruling party and opposition, were against each other in their slogans and demands except for one slogan which was used by the two sides in their slogans and speeches and statements: That’s “yes for dialogue” . The two sides have been always calling for dialogue, but they failed and failed over and over again to make dialogue about the political and electoral reforms.
The ruling party seems to be determined to go to April’s polls even without participation of the coalition of the main opposition parties. The latter threatens to boycott the elections and take to streets instead.
The eight rallies of today, Wednesday, January 27th, 2011, in the same city, same time and almost same places, tell clearly that the street would be the theatre of all, opposition and ruling, to protest or clash, if they did not reach an agreement.
Next Saturday, January 29, 2011, the President Saleh would meet with council of ministers and the governors from all the country’s 22 provinces, to discuss the final preparation of the parliamentary elections next April.
The opposition parties announced early Wednesday, they would held the four rallies in the four specified places. The ruling party announced very late Wednesday, it would hold also four rallies at the same time and almost same places.
The opposition coalition which include the largest Islamist party, Islah, Socialist, and Nasserite parties, held their rallies in Al Hasab area, university area, Nukum area, and Al Sabeen area. The opposition parties called for their rallies earlier Wednesday.
The ruling party, held its rallies places not far from these places. It held in old university area, Bab, Shuab area Bab Al Yaman area (Martyrs Square), Baynoon Street (Shumailah).