Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Yemeni men shout slogans celebrating the television appearance of their president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa on Thursday. Wadia Mohammed / EPA
Yemeni men shout slogans celebrating the television appearance of their president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa on Thursday. Wadia Mohammed / EPA

11 killed as Saleh supporters fire after president's TV appearance

Most of the shooting was in celebration of Mr Saleh's address on Thursday evening, hospital officials said, but it was unclear if all the deaths were accidental.

SANAA // At least 11 people were killed in Yemen when president, Ali Abdullah Saleh's supporters opened fire after his first television appearance since he was injured in an assassination attempt.

Most of the shooting was in celebration of Mr Saleh's address on Thursday evening, hospital officials said, but it was unclear if all the deaths were accidental.

Five people died from gunshots in the capital, four in the city of Ibb, and at least two others elsewhere. However, Ahmed Akeel, a protest activist in Ibb, said four people were killed and up to 200 wounded in an attack by government supporters yesterday.

Mr Saleh has been receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia since a June 5 attack on his palace. In his address, he said he was ready to share power within the constitution's framework but that protesters had an "incorrect understanding of democracy".

Mr Saleh has been under international pressure to resign. He backed out on three occasions from signing a plan brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council in which he would step down. Under the plan, the vice president would formally take power, a unity government would be formed with the ruling and opposition parties and elections would be held within two months.

The United States and Saudi Arabia are pressing for the revival of a modified GCC agreement which was signed by the main opposition coalition and even ruling party representatives in May.

Yesterday, opposition and youth protest leaders dismissed Mr Saleh's brief television appearance as tired rhetoric and demanded he step down from office immediately.

"His appearance shows that he can sign the GCC initiative, he should hurry up to sign the deal and any talk out of this context is a waste of time," said Mohammed Qahtan, a spokesman of the main opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties.

Tarik Al Shami, the spokesman of the ruling General People's Congress, said Mr Saleh's appearance came as a surprise to the opposition and showed the president was still able to lead.

"The president has demonstrated that he is in full mental presence and this has shocked the opposition," Mr Al Shami said.

Nearly six months of anti-government protests attended by hundreds of thousands have left Mr Saleh clinging to power.

Defections by key allies - including some high-ranking military officers - and international pressure have failed to make him resign.

Khalid Al Anisi, a leader in the protest movement, said Mr Saleh's TV appearance was a "challenge" and it showed he would never voluntarily step down.

"It is a declaration of war and an attempt in which he is trying to regroup his supporters . . . this speech has proved that there is no option but to bring the regime down through intensifying peaceful protests," said Mr Al Anisi.

Ali Saif Hasan, the director of the Political Development Forum - a Sanaa based non-governmental think tank, said Mr Saleh's television appearance, in which he was unable to move his hands and legs, might win him sympathy with the public.

He said it "will force the opposition either to play new cards or accept the offer of sharing power with the regime of Saleh".

 

malqadhi@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National