Socialist Worker

Yemen: Saleh hangs onto power

Issue No. 2251

Yemen’s dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh has reneged on a promise to step down. But thousands of people are still on the streets in the capital Sanaa.

Abubakr Al-Shamahi is a British Yemeni student.

He told Socialist Worker, “In recent years sectarian differences have grown up that didn’t exist 15 years ago.

“But in Change Square, at the heart of the protests, there is a real sense of unity.

“It was great to see women speakers applauded by a vast crowd, including tribesmen who are usually very conservative.

“We hoped that the president had had enough and would finally go. But last Friday he called protesters criminals and on Sunday three more were killed.

“I don’t think he ever intended to step down—he only accepted the offer because he thought the opposition would reject it.

“I was on a mass protest a week before I came back to Britain. We marched to the state television building in Sanaa on 28 April. The authorities attacked us and killed 12 people.

“In the port of Aden there are days of strikes and civil disobedience twice a week. Each of these have closed businesses and roads for half a day.”

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