Yemeni protesters call for permission to fightJihad calls … [Archives:2003/629/Front Page]

March 31 2003
Angry protestors near Al-Tahreer square, Sanaa
Angry protestors near Al-Tahreer square, Sanaa
Mohammed Al-Qadhi
As the war in Iraq enters its second week, protests against the US-UK war against Iraq continue and reached the level of calling for jihad.
Yemeni journalists joined the public on Saturday in expressing anger against the war that claimed many lives of innocent people. Last week both the Yemeni parliament and Shura council denounced the war and thousands of people protested Thursday and Saturday in Sana'a.
They all called for an immediate cease for the war, demanding the Arab rulers to do something.
Protesters were led by some religious scholars and political parties in the opposition and ruling party. They denounced the defeatism of Arab regimes.
They gathered around at Al-Tahreer Square at the heart of the Yemeni capital where some speeches were delivered.
Sheikh Abdulmajeed al-Zindani said Jihad has become compulsory on all Muslims, who should start fighting the enemy. He said” the aggression is a crime denounced by peoples all over the world. Bloodshed for the oil.”
He pointed out that all people should be ready to face the colonialism, demanding the activation of the joint Arab defense treaty.
The protesters were very angry, demanding that borders should be opened for people to defend Iraq.
They shouted ” America is a terrorist country,” “Heroes of Um al-Kasr are heroes of Arabs”,” Death to America, Death to Israel.” Hundreds of demonstrators moved to al-Sabeen Square and wanted to head towards the UK embassy. But, the riot police prevented them. They threw stones.
The protest was highly protected by riot police which feared any violence like the week before where as many as four Yemenis were killed.
The Yemeni government put several opposition leaders in jail, claiming they were behind the violence. The authorities also demanded that the diplomatic immunity of two of them should be withdrawn.
But the parliament and Shura council refused such a demand made by the General prosecutors.
Abdulwahed Hawash, Assistant Secretary General of Baath Party, showed dissatisfaction over the statement issued by the scholars and said it should have called for closure of the aggressive countries embassies and that their ambassadors should be expelled.
He emphasized that protests will continue. The opposition condemned the way by which the riot police dealt with protesters the week before.
The Yemeni parliament denounced the war last Monday and stressed in a press statement that the war is targeting the whole Arab and Islamic nations.
It appealed to the” international community to stop the barbaric war and protect the Iraqi people against the US plan designed to serve the interest of Zionism.” It also called all Arabs and Muslims to get ready for the confrontation with imperialism aiming to change the culture, ethics of these people.
The parliament called Arab regimes to be responsible towards Iraq and that they should not keep mute as the danger will devour the whole. It called all anti-war people worldwide to continue their protests condemning the war and it stressed that the Security Council should take a move to stop the war.
It considered the war as a great challenge to the international law and UN charter. It also said that the warring coalition claim that they want to establish a democratic system in Iraq is not acceptable as” each nation has the freedom to chose its political regime.
Democracy can not be imposed by force or come through heavy artilleries and bombs.”
On its part, the Shura council called all legislative councils in the world to do “their national and ethical roles to stop the aggression, supporting the Iraqi people to defend themselves and protect the sovereignty of their country.”
The Yemeni religious scholars denounced the war and said it is a part of Zionist and colonial plan to control the Arab and Islamic world, fighting against its religion.
In general, the Yemeni media has been confused in covering the war, unsure whether to call it war or aggression. This has shown the confusion of the political regime's stance also, because of the pressure it has been put under by the US.
However, the official media are now giving more attention to the war and its ramifications. They are also denouncing the aggression very strongly.
The Yemeni government announced that it refused an American request to dismiss some Iraqi diplomats, considering such a request interference in the internal affairs of Yemen.
Mosque sermons preachers denounced last Friday the aggression and its imperialistic aims serving Israel and called for the support for the Iraqi people.