Anonymous official misleading public [Archives:2007/1092/Front Page]

October 8 2007

By: Nadia Al-Sakkaf
SANA'A, Oct. 7 ) An unknown source at the ministry of interior issued a statement on the military based official newspaper 26 September website claiming that previous protests or sit-ins were illegal. He went further to say that all organizations, groups or parties must obtain prior permission from the Ministry of the Interior before staging such protests. The basis of this statement according to the website is law number 29 for year 2003 regarding the regulations of protests and demonstrations. And it warns of the dire consequences of any violation.

However, article 4 of this law states the following:

Any group of people desiring to carry out a protest or a march can do so under the Yemeni laws under the following conditions:

– The interested group must assign a committee responsible for organizing and managing the protest

– The committee must provide the ministry of interior with a written letter of intention at least three days prior to the date specified for the protest

– The letter must include the date and time, the purpose or demands of the protest, the meeting point, or the route of the protest if it is a march

– It must include the slogans or chants supposed to be used during the demonstration

– The letter must be signed by the committee members explaining their legal status in the organization and stamped with the body organizing the protest's official stamp

– The authority has the right if seen necessary to change the time or route of a protest if justified for security reasons and the protestors can appeal about the change within 24 hours.

All this clearly indicates that any organizations that wish to carry out a demonstration or a march must notify the ministry of interior three days in advance rather than ask for permission. Moreover, article number 19 of the same law clearly states: The regulations of this law do not apply to sit-ins and assemblies provided they do not turn into a riot or a march.

Lawyer Khaled Al-Anisi executive director of Human Rights organization known as HOOD commented on this unnamed source as “ignorant and does not know the ABC of Yemeni laws”.

Moreover, article 41 of the Yemeni constitution states:

Every citizen has the right to participate in political, social, cultural, economic lives. The state ensures the freedom of thought, and expression in speech, writing, and photography within the law.”