Saturday, February 5, 2011

Demonstrations on the streets of Yemen as protests continue in Egypt

Demonstrations on the streets of Yemen as protests continue in Egypt

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Thousands of anti-government protesters filled the streets of Yemen’s capital Sana’a today, many wearing pink scarves and hats, a symbolic color for this popular uprising. Demonstrators are calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, after more than 30 years in power. One opposition activist told al-Jazeera that he’s hopeful the government will enact meaningful policy changes.

“These people are protesting for economic and political reform which we’ve agreed on with the government, there is still an opportunity but we are afraid that we we’ll reach the point of no return.”

Several people were injured, but media reports describe the Yemen rallies as peaceful. Demonstrations took place in several parts of the capital, with youth and opposition activists calling for lower prices, more jobs and less corruption - some of the same issues that have led tens of thousands to the streets in Tunisia and Egypt.

In Cairo, protests continued throughout the night and some describe violent encounters with police. At least four protesters have been killed, as well as one police officer. Ahram Online reporter Lina el-Wardani, who herself was beaten and detained, said police attacked a group of about 300 mostly young people last night in the capital. A poet and a filmmaker were also beaten, and the AP says police broke the cheekbone of one of their photographers. Amateur video shows crowds of people running from security forces, and some youth throwing rocks at a line of riot police. Another video depicts a group of men in dark clothing dragging a protester along the ground; one of them kicks the protester and another pulls him underneath an overhang, out of the camera’s sights. Some protesters started fires and hundreds have been detained. For more on the protests, FSRN’s Lillian Boctor spoke to Cairo-based journalist and blogger, Hossam el-Hamalawy. He predicted protests will continue until President Mubarak leaves the country

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