Sunday, 20 February 2011

Yemen opposition supports demonstrators but not to ouster President Saleh

By Nasser Arrabyee/20/02/2011

The Yemeni opposition parties said Sunday they support the young people who demonstrate in the streets for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But the opposition parties, which includes mainly the Islamists, Socialists, and Nasserites, did not say they support the young people to demand the ouster of President Saleh.

“We support their peaceful protests against tyranny” , they never said to topple Saleh’s regime.

Meanwhile, the President Ali Abdulah Saleh repeatedly said on Sunday he is ready to meet all the “legal” demands of the opposition through dialogue.

“We are ready to sit on negotiation table and meet the demands of the opposition, if they are legal, the dialogue is the best way, not the sabotage, blocking roads, killing innocents, and looting public and private properties,” President Saleh addressed about 40,000 of his supporters in the country’s largest hall, May 22 Hall, in the capital Sana’a.

The supporters who were chanting slogans in favor of Saleh’s rule and his initiative to offer concessions, came from all the government ministries in the city of Sana’a.

Over the last week, President Saleh held about 10 similar gatherings in Sana’a but with tribesmen from the Yemen’s most influential two tribes Hashed and Bakil in the provinces of Sana’a, Amran and Hajja.

The opposition considered President Saleh’s meetings with the tribesmen as a tactic of “Divide to rule” . They opposition condemned trying to make tribesmen fight each other.

“No dialogue with bullets, batons, and thugs, no dialogue with the power who mobilizes mercenaries to occupy the public squares,” said the Islamist-led opposition collation in a statement issued at the end of an exceptional meeting held Sunday in Sana’a by the top leaders of the coalition.

President Saleh regretted for the violence that happened over the last two days in Aden, Taiz and Sana’a in which dozens were killed and injured. He also regretted for what happened to journalists in Sana’a on Friday and Saturday by “hired thugs”.

“Those elements are not from the ruling party or its allies , they were hired thugs, and this will never happen,” Saleh said.

While President Saleh was speaking, two rival demonstrations were going on at the gate of the Sana’a university: hundreds of students were demanding Saleh’s ouster, and hundreds others demanding dialogue and security and stability. Both ended peacefully after the security separated them meters away from each other.

The anti-Saleh students were planning Sunday to make a permanent sit-in at the gate like colleagues in the province of Taiz where hundreds were sitting in day and night in the area of Dhafer, or Freedom Square as they called it.

Earlier, 10 members of parliament from the ruling party said they would resign if the violence against demonstrators and journalists continue.

In southern province of Aden where always the protestors would demand the separation of the south from the north which united in 1990, small but violent demonstration calling for the ouster of President Saleh started last Friday when at least five people were killed in clashes with security forces.

The new position of the separatist southern movement was viewed by some observers as an implicit agreement between the movement and opposition coalition.

In Sada’a, for the first time, the spokesman of the Al Houthi rebels Mohammed Abdul Salam said Sunday they would stage demonstrations in cooperation with the opposition coalition in the province to support the young people in Sana’a, Taiz, and Aden and other provinces.

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