Thursday, 12 May 2011

Yemen protesters divided over marches, and parties over GCC power-transfer deal

By Nasser Arrabyee/12/05/2011

The calls for marching forward and occupying government buildings in the Yemeni capital Sanaá have often ended with bloody confrontations.

More than six protesters were killed and dozens injured late Thursday when angry and disappointed protesters decided to go and storm the cabinet building and broadcasting building in the heart of Sanaá.

These calls also divided the protesters and opposition parties into two groups : one supporting the call for marching and occupying, and the other refusing it citing many reasons like the civil war and endless violence.

The calls for marches to storm the government buildings have increased and intensified after President Saleh and opposition parties almost failed to reach an agreement over a US-backed and Saudi-led GCC plan for transferring the power from the defiant Saleh in one month.

“The real revolutionaries who are with us will start right now marching to the cabinet and radio buildings, and those who are with the coward parties will stay in their place,” said the Tawakul Karman, in the middle of the sit-in square at the gate of Sanaá university just minutes before the march towards the headquarters of the government on Wednesday.

Other leaders from the same party of Tawakul, the Islamist party, Islah, that mainly leads the anti-Saleh protests, immediately took the microphone and started to say “ This march is not planned, and we are not responsible for it.”

About 2, 000 protesters followed Tawakul but they were stopped by the troops of the defected general Ali Muhsen who declared last march his support for the “peaceful revolution”. The shooting was at the eastern exit of the protesters camp, behind Al Kuwait hospital.

“The first shooting was coming from Ali Muhsen’s troops, from soldiers I know very well, the soldiers I always greet when I get in and get out,” said the protester Najeeb Abdul Rehman Al Sadi, who was among the first marchers.

“ The Islah party and Ali Muhsen did not want Tawakul to implement her word, they wanted to stop her to repress us all and return us to the house of obedience,” said Al Sadi , who said Tawakul should resign from her party after this incident.
“ If she resigns from the Islah, she would deserve the leadership of this revolution.”

Arwa Othman, also one of the liberal and leading woman activist, criticised he colleague Tawakul for leading the protests to that bloody incident.

“ Unfortunately, some of us lead naive protesters to massacres to build their own fame, they like to be stars on the dead bodies,” said Arwa on her face book.

However, the Islamist leader an MP, Shawki Al Qadi, said Tawakul and those who followed her were heroes and those who refused to go with her were “revolutionaries”.

“ Those who marched with Tawakul were heroes and those who stayed were revolutionaries, and when both agree the victory will come,” Said the MP Al Qadi on his face-book.

It’s worth mentioning that Tawakul has always been demanding the protesters to march to the Presidential Palace to force Saleh out.

She became one of the most famous female activist in Yemen for this, causing a lot of embarrassment to her conservative party that imposes many restrictions on women.

Her Islamist party Islah, for instance, does not allow women to run for elections and only allow them to vote.

However, the leading the protester, Adel Arrabyee, what Tawakul does in disagreement with her party is a tactic to gain more and more supporters for her party.

“Tawakul would not have gone to that march if her party Islah did not give her a green light, I mean Islah could have prevented Tawakul and the march,” said Arrabyee.

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