March to Presidential Palace in the works

May 10, 2011

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Sana’a marched today from Change square to the home of Vice President Abdu-rabu Mansoor Hadi. Opposition activists, angered by corruption and poverty, have been staging daily protests since January to demand an end to Saleh’s 33 year rule. The march was held to protest yesterday’s violence in Taiz City, in which Saleh’s security forces opened fire on protesters, killing five and wounding hundreds. While today’s protest in Sana’a ended peacefully, dozens of protesters were reportedly injured in Hodeidah city when security forces shot tear gas and live rounds at protesters.

As opposition activists staged more rallies today, the Gulf Cooperation Council held their meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh to discuss the crisis in Yemen along with other regional issues. The political crisis between Saleh and the opposition is on its agenda after a recent GCC plan to end the stalemate fell apart. The original plan called for Saleh to step down within 30 days in return for legal immunity. It also called for the establishment of a unity government that includes the opposition. Saleh has refused to sign the deal after having initially agreed to, claiming it does not meet constitutional standards.

Organizers say they are planning a march to the Presidential Palace, believing that it is the only option left after negotiations with the GCC failed. Previously, a march to the palace had been avoided because protesters believed Saleh would eventually step down like Egypt’s Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ali. A fear of a massacre taking place also prevented a march from taking place. In light of Saleh’s refusal to step down and yesterday’s violence in Taiz, one of the main student groups among the opposition released a statement last night announcing that organizers were going to “escalate” protest activities.

Demonstrators I spoke to today repeatedly spoke of their contempt for the GCC and what they perceived as its meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs. They do not believe the GCC has the interests of the Yemeni people in mind, and refuse to support any plan put forth by the six-member group. Opposition activists demand the immediate ouster of Saleh and believe it is up to the Yemeni people themselves to resolve the crisis, even at the risk of war. They argue that anything less would be a betrayal of the revolution and those who have sacrificed their lives for it.

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One Response to “March to Presidential Palace in the works”


  1. Inshallah this march will knock some sense into Saleh’s wishy-washy brain. Thanks for filling us on the details in real time.

    Inna Fatehna laka fat-hum mubeena!


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