Thousands rally to defy government brutality
Wednesday 06 April 2011
by Our Foreign Desk
The protesters gathered in the southern city after up to 30 demonstrators were shot dead and around 50 wounded in the city on Monday and Tuesday.
Men and women marched six miles to the city centre and met up with another mass protest of tens of thousands of Yemenis who had marched from a different part of the city to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down.
Shops, banks and government institutions were all closed as workers responded to a general strike call.
The US-based Human Rights Watch group has called on Washington to “immediately suspend military assistance to Yemen” until Mr Saleh “ends attacks on largely peaceful anti-government protesters and prosecutes those responsible.”
While the White House condemned “the use of violence by Yemeni government forces against demonstrators, yesterday, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell emphasised that “the US commitment to Yemen has not lessened.”
In February last year US Defence Secretary Robert Gates approved more than doubling US funding to train and equip Yemeni security forces to combat Islamist militants in the region.
Then Washington said that the $150 million (£92m) approved by Mr Gates for the 2010 fiscal year – up from $67m (£41m) in 2009 – underlined US concerns about “the growing threat of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.”
The sum did not include covert US assistance for Yemen.
Yemen protesters defy authorities to demonstrate in their thousands: here.
- Anti-U.S. rebels’ triumph in northern Yemen brings peace to embattled region (kansascity.com)
- Yemen’s ‘Death to America’ rebels bring calm to northern Yemen (csmonitor.com)
- In pictures: Yemen’s Southern Movement (bbc.co.uk)