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Saleh braces for day of rage in Yemen

Calls for meeting of parliament's chambers

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Image Credit: AFP
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh attends a military parade on Sunday. “Peace, security and stability are the choice of the state,” Saleh said.
Gulf News

Sana'a: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has called for a joint meeting with the two chambers of the country's parliament tomorrow a day ahead of Thursday's Yemeni day of rage protest march called by the main opposition parties and young Yemenis through the social media.

Saleh's official invitation to members of Yemen's House of Representatives and Shura Council said he would raise important issues which would be in the interest of the homeland.

Emboldened by the ongoing popular uprising in Egypt and the one before that in Tunisia, Yemeni youth, cutting across party lines, have been calling through Facebook and Twitter for a big anti-regime rally in the capital Sana'a tomorrow.

Bigger than Egypt

Professor Fouad Al Salahi, an independent sociologist in Sana'a University, said he expected a bigger uprising in Yemen than in Egypt if serious political and economic reforms were not taken up.

"In Yemen, the explosion [of public anger] will be stronger if there are no serious and quick reforms," he said.

The main opposition parties in Yemen, which include the Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites, also called for tomorrow's demonstrations, not only in the capital Sana'a but all over the country.

Mohammed Al Kubati, spokesman for the opposition coalition, Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), said: "Thursday's demonstrations will be the concluding phase of the first stage of our activities — which we started in the middle of January — to refuse all unilateral steps taken by the ruling party for elections and constitutional amendments."

JMP has already ignored a call by President Saleh to resume a deadlocked dialogue process over political reform and halt demonstrations and rival media campaigns. Saleh's call to resume the dialogue came after an exceptional meeting with his senior officials on Friday.

Some opposition leaders say Thursday's demonstrations will fall under the framework of the opposition parties' programme to escalate their refusal of unilateral steps taken by the ruling party regarding elections and constitutional amendments. Moreover, it will also respond to the demands of the people, they said.

Money to stop anger

The official media has said Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had authorised the establishment of a special fund to help young people find jobs and to employ 25 per cent of all universities graduates in 2011. He has also reportedly ordered the government to provide financial assistance to 500,000 poor families. The monthly salaries of civil, military and security personnel will be increased starting this month.

The steps are viewed by some observers as an attempt to placate anger.

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