Monday, 14 February 2011

Demonstrations intensify, opposition recant to talk with government in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee/14/02/2011
The Yemen opposition refused to talk with the government on Monday, only one day after they accepted an initiative by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resume dialogue and stop protests.

This quick and surprising development came after young people intensified anti-regime demonstrations in the capital Sana’a and outside Sana’a especially in the most educated and most populated province of Taiz, where rival demonstrations turned to violence injuring about 8 people on Monday.

The opposition refusal also came after President Saleh continued meetings with tribal leaders from the areas around Sana’a and security deployment increased in the streets.

An opposition leader said Monday the opposition coalition refused the President Saleh’s initiative.

“We looked at it (Saleh’s initiative) as an attempt to rescue the regime not to rescue the nation,” Said Yasin Saeed Noman, the secretary general of the socialist party, the second largest opposition party after the Islamist party Islah, which leads the coalition.

“There is a deep national and political crisis produced by this regime, we should not make dialogue outside this crisis, we should talk about changing the political and social regime.”

The opposition and President Saleh’s party failed to reach an agreement over political and electoral reforms and reached a deadlock last October, when the ruling party said it would go to April 2011’s poll even without the opposition.

The opposition said it would boycott and take to streets. Anti- elections demonstrations started since then. These demonstrations intensified after the toppling of the two regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

Although the opposition coalition has not yet officially demanded Saleh’s regime should be toppled in all those demonstrations, groups mainly from frustrated young people, inspired and emboldened by what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, say clearly Saleh must step down in their own limited demonstrations, and also in the bigger demonstrations called and organized by the opposition coalition.

The opposition officially say they still want serious political and electoral reforms.

Earlier Sunday, The opposition parties accepted an initiative by President Ali Abdullah Saleh for resuming dialogue.

But they said they would take to streets if this dialogue failed like the previous ones.

Earlier this month, Saleh offered concessions in his initiative including not to run for office when his current term ends in 2013 and his son would succeed him.

In a press conference Sunday, February 13, 2011, the opposition said they are ready to negotiate with Saleh for rescuing the country not for rescuing his regime.

They said they would start their dialogue from the last point they reached before they stopped last October.

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