Protests continue in Yemen

April 20, 2011 - 0:0

Security forces opened fire on demonstrators in south Yemen on Tuesday, injuring at least four.

Nouh al-Wafi, an activist, said several thousand protesters were rallying on Tuesday in the city of Taiz to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh when security forces fired on them, AP reported.
Taiz has been a hotbed of two months of nationwide protests. Four protesters were killed in the southern city earlier this month.
The UN children's fund has said that 26 children have been killed during violent protests in Yemen over the last two months.
UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado said that most of the children killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government demonstrators died of wounds from live ammunition.
“It is a sign of the growing attention that Yemen is attracting after Egypt, Tunisia and Libya,” said a UN diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity, in reference to other protest-hit Arab states.
Also on Tuesday, a Yemeni government delegation left for Abu Dhabi for talks with the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council on its proposal for Saleh to transfer power to his deputy and end the crisis.
New political group formed
Meanwhile, Yemeni lawmakers who split from the ruling General People's Congress party have established a new political group calling for Saleh's ouster, a statement from the bloc said.
According to Aljazeera, the new group, named “Justice and Building Bloc”, comprises former ministers and members of the parliament who had deserted GPC in protest over the heavy-handed response by authorities to anti-Saleh demonstrations.
Members of the new group have called for “regime change” and the “immediate departure” of Saleh, according to the statement released late on Monday.
The bloc was announced in a ceremony on Monday in Sanaa.
It includes Nabil al-Faqih, former minister of tourism, Huda al-Baan, minister of human rights, and Khaled al-Wazir, transport minister, among others.
Economy hard hit
In another development, officials say that almost two months of unrest in Yemen has more than doubled the price of some basic foodstuffs and cooking gas while the value of the rial has plummeted, deepening the strain in what was already the Arab world's poorest nation.
According to AP, anger about the price increases and shortage of cooking gas have been building for weeks, with protests surfacing in major cities, including the capital, and hundreds of people blocking main roads with empty gas cylinders.
Meanwhile, unemployment, pegged at 49 percent in 2010, according to economists, is getting worse as business tapers off and the devaluation in the rial has hammered the construction sector.
As violence and the threat of economic collapse continue to increase in Yemen, Saleh’s administration has come under mounting pressure to determine a swift resolution to the stalemate.
But Saleh has remained defiant in the face of calls for his resignation. Negotiations with opposition groups that began weeks ago have failed to achieve tangible results.
Saleh has publicly expressed willingness to transfer power, but has yet to indicate how or when a handover would take place. Protesters say they will accept nothing short of the president's immediate departure.