Sit-ins continue in southern governorates [Archives:2007/1098/Front Page]

October 25 2007

Mohammed Bin Salam
SANA'A, Oct, 28 ) About 20,000 people marched in protest Saturday in city of Mukalla of Hadhramout province celebrating the 44th commemoration of the 14th of October revolution against the British occupation.

The Political Activities Coordination Committee (PACC) said in a statement that local authorities in the southern province of Hadhramout “a massive matchless public rally.”

The authorities in charge of Mukalla city stood against the rally earlier but retreated to avoid any possible confrontations. However, the PACC statement said that the authorities attempted to stop the rally by hiring some people who tried to “change the rally into a chaos and riots.” However, the local residents foiled their attempts, making it peaceful, the statement added.

For the second time, the authorities prevented Al-Jazeerah Satelite team from airing the rally. The team was not allowed to cover a similar rally held on 14 October in Radfan

According to the PACC, the security authorities detained Al-Jazeera team and cameramen and confiscated their cell phones after attacking them while they were in their hotel.

However, the chairman of the executive committee of the Joint Meeting Parties, JMP, in Hadhramout confirmed that the rally was successful, though the authorities attempted to cancel it.

Meanwhile, the executive committee of the JMP condemned preventing Al-Jazeera team from covering the event. It also denounced the detention of the Hadhramout Press Website editor.

The committee described such acts as stupid and adverse to press freedom and violate the constitution and law. Such acts go against the Yemen democratic experience, violating civil rights and international charts, reflecting a political bankruptcy of the authorities that gave orders to occupy the room of the Al-Jazeera team by security personnel during staging the JMP's rally.

The authority also confirmed that such measures would lead to more insistence on the par t of the JMP to continue staging peaceful sit-ins and national festivals whatever the obstacles are. It further noted that the JMP would resort to using all legal measures to sue the wrongdoers.

Moreover, the protesters holding a rally in Al-Shuhada' square in Radfan postponed changing their open-ended sit-in to the square of the governorate building which was supposed to be carried out Sunday morning. The protesters demand the local authority leaders to promptly arrest the suspects involved in a previous incident in which five protesters where killed and 15 others were injured. They also demanded the authority to refer them to the prosecution for investigations.

The protesters' decision came after delaying the date of transporting the protesters in view with giving a chance to the members of the local council in Lahj province, who participated in the sit-in staged in Al-Shuhada' square last Saturday, to sit with the governor to convince him to immediately arrest the suspects and hand them over to Radfan's prosecution court.

However, many speeches were delivered during the rally denouncing the murder of the unarmed people killed by the security authorities. They also demanded the authority to arrest the perpetrators and send them to the prosecution court in Radfan.

Fatwa against retired soldiers

Local sources confirmed that the associations of the military and civil retirees lodged a lawsuit against the former Endowment minister Naser Al-Shaibani who made Fatwa that retirees are disbelievers and not Muslims any more. This came in a lawsuit presented by the lawyer, Ali. Al-Azraqi to the court of appeal in Taiz province, where Al-Shaibani delivered the Eid's sermon in Al-Janad Mosque.

Al-Azraqi said that this lawsuit incitement to murder retired soldiers . He also demanded the investigation with Al-Shaibani whose Fatwa resulted in killing four people and injuring another during the Radfan rally.

The lawsuit also discussed that Al-Shaibani in his Fatwa allowed bloodshed of those who protested and staged sit-ins. It further stated that Al-Shaibani considered the retirees' associations as communistic and aesthetic, which attempt to Christianize and Americanize the Yemeni people.

Incitement among the southern military associations and the Yemeni authorities have caused worries and agitation in the southern provinces. The military retirees' associations go into confrontations with the security forces as well.

The situation worsens day after day indicating the futile efforts made by president Ali Abdullah Saleh to contain the crisis aggravated more by the confrontations that occurred between the police and the protesters in Radfan on Wednesday. These confrontations ended by detaining some protesters, making the military retirees associations consider them as an insistence of the authority to exacerbate the crisis.

Saleh meets opposition leaders

Furthermore, Saleh met on Saturday the secretary-generals of the JMP and agreed on raising all national issues to have a serious dialogue and negotiations between them all as well as the other political partners.

Media outlets said, “Leaders of the JMP were clear and serious in raising solutions for the difficulties, crises and recent events from which the country suffers due to the authorities' wrong policies in regard to the national and decisive issues including bad treatment of the authority toward results of destructive internal wars headed by the 1994 war.”

Concerning Saleh's initiative and the JMP project of political and national reforms, the president showed a thorough understanding of the necessity of raising all the issues related to the political and constitutional reforms in serious dialogues.

In a press release issued by the JMP over the meeting with president Saleh, the opposition affirmed that it proposed its vision to the president “toward the most important national issues, reviewing recent events and stressing the importance of finding serious solutions that would achieve the public interests.”

For its part, the JMP confirmed that it would maintain serious dialogue according to the regulations and provisions reached by it and the ruling party.

The meeting ended by emphasizing the importance of maintaining dialogues as the latter are the most civilized way aiming at finding suitable solutions of different problems and challenges hindering the progress as well as shaking the stability of the country.

The two sides agreed on holding continuous meetings in view of Finalizing the dialogues and placing mechanisms that lead to achieving and implementing commitments stipulated by the code of issues and regulations of dialogue signed on 16 June this year.