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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora