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

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid