Sit-ins and protests span the republic, government remains unresponsive [Archives:2007/1082/Local News]

September 3 2007

SANA'A, August 29 ) Sit-ins and protests abound in Yemen, as citizens join forces against government corruption and overbearing price hikes, demanding the authority to stop its “policy of starvation.”

In Sana'a, the Joint Meeting Parties' higher council staged a massive sit-in near Freedom Square last Tuesday. Protesters denounced the high cost of living, price hikes, corruption and violation of rights and freedoms; the JMP higher council deemed these social ills as stumbling blocks to citizen self-improvement and national development.

A statement released by the JMP clarified their position: “We do not seek to incite feuds as the authority pretends. We denounce the strained circumstances of the citizens. We are a part of the people and suffer as they do. The policy of the ruling party aims at violating all the rights, freedoms and bylaws thus] the government looses its credibility and the circle of unfulfilled pledges gets wider and wider.”

The statement elaborated on the demands of protestors, including provision of clean water and future remedies for Sana'a basin as well as electricity cut-offs. “Education and health services must be provided without charge. The sanitary network is to be completed. The authority should also maintain solidarity with all peaceful activities that demand rights and freedoms, especially issues of pensioners spanning the country t should also put an end to violations to which journalists are exposed due to their opinions and restore rights of possessing information and media means.”

Thousands of citizens in Thi-Al-Sufal and Al-Saiyani districts in Ibb governorate staged similar demonstrations, demanding the local authority to fulfill pledges it made during presidential elections concerning eradicating corruption, poverty and unemployment.

Similarly, hundreds of unemployed youth gathered in Al-Dale' governorate to stage the first sit-in since their association was established. They demanded the local authority as well as the national government to provide them with job opportunities and to fulfill their electoral slogan: “New Yemen and future without poverty and unemployment.”

In Lahj governorate, hundreds of unemployed youth held a sit-in in front of the government building, lifting banners stating “No to job nepotism” and demanding fair distribution of jobs between governorate citizens.

In Thamar governorate, retired soldiers staged their first sit-in after the presidential committee assigned to handle their cases refused to settle their disputes and accept their files. The soldiers accused the committee of manipulating and tampering with their rights, including removing hundreds of soldiers included in the republican decree. They warned that continued deprivation of their rights could lead to more dangerous conflict, especially under the country's current miserable living conditions.