News / Middle East

Government Opponents, Supporters Rally in Yemen

Supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh hold banners and raise his portraits during a rally in support of Saleh and his government in Sanaa,Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011.
Supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh hold banners and raise his portraits during a rally in support of Saleh and his government in Sanaa,Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011.

Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators in Yemen held what they called a "day of rage" on Thursday to urge President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.  Mr. Saleh's supporters held a rival demonstration to back the government.

The opposing rallies in the capital, Sana'a, are the largest in a series of protests in the country inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Yemen's opposition is complaining of growing poverty, unemployment and corruption, and has rejected a proposition by President Saleh to leave office in 2013.

Despite growing animosity, most analysts do not believe the situation in Yemen will result in a violent rebellion.

Senior Middle East Analyst at IHS Jane’s, Dave Hartwell, says the Yemeni opposition would prefer change to occur peacefully.  "I think they are trying to hold Saleh to his word and begin a dialogue rather than begin the process of trying to overthrow the regime. I think that's where we're at, at the moment; of course it could change in the future," he said.

Yemen is a key ally in the United States’ fight on terror and Hartwell says a possible coup d'état could benefit groups like al-Qaida.

"A chaotic transition of power in Yemen could open up a huge number of other problems: the southern secessionists, the AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) threat, all rising to the fore and creating a potentially very, very dangerous situation," Hartwell said.

President Saleh has been in power for more than 30 years and even his supporters recognize a need for political and economic reform in the country.

He told parliament on Wednesday he would leave office in two years and also affirmed his son would not succeed him.

However, he has reneged on promises to step aside in the past.

Opposition supporters have vowed to hold further demonstrations in the coming days.

Program Manager for Middle East and North Africa at Chatham House, Kate Nevens, believes the rallies will eventually result in some sort of reform. "I think these protests do represent a moment of change for Yemen, or an open window for Yemen. It is putting voices on a platform that are calling for greater political inclusion and it is also calling attention to some of the move towards constitution reform in the country," Nevens said.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula with about 40 percent of its population living on less than two U.S. dollars a day.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid