“Biggest Protest Ever” Held in Taiz

They just keep coming, don’t they….but, where is Sana’a? Our friend MP Ahmed Said Hashed took part too.   

Taiz citizens protest against injustice, poor living standards

By: Yemen Times Staff

The security forces prevented large masses of people from nearby districts as they were heading toward Taiz to take part in the protest.

TAIZ, Nov. 14 – Thousands of citizens gathered at premises of the local authority of Taiz governorate in the biggest protest ever seen in Yemen since the popular revolution against the British Occupation. Despite the government’s efforts to tighten the noose around protests and demonstrations by taking heightened security measures throughout Taiz city, thousands of citizens reached the rally scene and raised slogans similar to the ones recently seen in the southern and eastern governorates.

The angry demonstrators raised slogans pressing the government to improve their living standards, eradicate corruption and enhance the principle of equal citizenship and distribute service and development projects fairly to different parts of the nation.

By the end of the demonstration, participants circulated a statement confirming they streamed into streets because the government refused to meet their demands and continued its arbitrary practices against civil community organizations and unions that voice people’s concerns via peaceful means.

The statement demanded the government to create more job opportunities to the idle youth and called on the youth to express solidarity with the journalistic activist Tawakul Karaman, Chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains. The protestors strongly denounced all the arbitrary practices and attacks against great politicians and journalists.

“Taiz, once the city of culture and trade, has turned into a venue for poverty and unemployment,” the statement commented, claiming the government to have a merciful look at the governorate, which is known for its great scientific and cultural status, as well as being the most populous governorate in the country. According to the statement, Taiz locals, who played an important role in the outbreak of 26 September and 14 October revolutions, are entitled to enjoy equal rights in terms of obtaining government jobs in order to sustain their families and lead a stable life.

Yemen Times has learned that the security forces prevented large masses of people from nearby districts as they were heading toward Taiz to take part in the protest, which was supervised by the Council of Coordination between NGOs and Idle Youth Organization, which has been recently established in Taiz.

Change, an under-establishment organization chaired up by the resigned MP Ahmad Saif Hashed and involves many parliamentarians, politicians, rights activists and journalists, said in a statement circulated to the media that it is enthusiastic to rescue the Yemeni people from the current crisis and seeks people’s support. It said that people have to protect themselves and revolt against their oppressors, who confiscate their basic rights and freedoms.

“Yesterday, your brothers in Aden, Al-Dhale’, Hadramout and Shabwa took to streets in protest against the poor living standards in their home governorates, but many of them were shot dead. With their blood, those martyrs wrote a great a statement for human dignity and freedom, the organization said. It told people to have patience as rights can not be obtained easily.

It went on to say You reject starvation, illiteracy and telling lies. You once again establish the first step for restoring dignity of the Yemeni citizens, who went through different stages of humiliation,”

The preparatory committee in the Idle Youth Organization in Taiz claimed the government to suggest a clear and specific employment policy and approves transparency and fair distribution of jobs among university graduates. It also insisted on the government to eradicate bribes and favoritism in the distribution of job opportunities, as well as put an end to the high unemployment rates by the end of 2008, according to promises made by the General People Congress’s presidential candidate ahead of last year’s elections. {interesting, no name}

In Abyan, hundreds of military retirees and their supporters held a sit-in in Ahwar district on Wednesday, expressing solidarity with the detained protestors, who are still in the government’s jail and demanding security authorities to release them. The protestors called on all civil community organizations to stand in solidarity with BG Nasser Al-Nuba, who is detained in an Aden security prison, and the Socialist leader Hussein Baoom, who is jailed in a Hadramout’s jail without any clear reasons.

In the same context, pensioners who were working for the intelligence organization and the political security, complained of being mistreated by the authorities and that they are deprived of their basic rights to be equal to their colleagues in the army and interior ministry. During a sit-in, which they held at Al-Ayyam Daily building in Aden, the protestors regretted that they used all the options to resolve their problems but to no avail, adding that the committee, mandated to discuss their issues, did nothing for them.

“We have our demands, which we filed to the concerned authorities in Sana’a, but until now none of these demands has been met. We insist on enjoying our rights and receiving kind treatment similar to that of our colleagues in the defense and interior ministries,” said the protestors. They urged all human rights groups and civil community organizations, as well as opposition forces to back them.

Regarding the government’s attitude toward the crisis, a Joint Meeting Parties leader in Aden told media that all the demonstrations and sit-ins taking place nationwide are indicators of a peaceful nationwide revolution. Ali Monasser Mohammed added that these protests against injustice, mistreatment and oppression, which people suffer from day to day. “Citizens are protesting to restore their confiscated rights and insulted dignity,” Mohammed said.

Asked about consequences of defection slogans raised by citizens during protests, Mohammed replied that some of these slogans don’t necessarily reflect wills of those who organize the protests. I believe that some of them were deliberately raised by some elements loyal with the regime while others were chanted as a reaction to the barbaric practices that targeted participants in the sit-ins.

The rights activist Jamal Mohammed Al-Ja’abi forwarded a note to the Attorney-General, demanding him to accelerate investigations into the killing of many demonstrators in Lahj governorate. He told the Attorney-General to immediately arrest the perpetrators who opened fire at protestors, killing some of them and injuring others, and refer them to the court.

“Procedures, which Lahj-based Prosecution took, are incomplete, nor are they effective. They still require your intervention in order to satisfy victims’ relatives and curb spread of murder crimes,” Al-Ja’abi said in his note addressed to the Attorney-General.

JMP called the government to respond to the legal demands filed by citizens and implement Phase No. Two of the Wage and Salaries Strategy, as well as demonstrate positive interaction with concerns and issues of different social groups and fulfill all the promises contained in its platform.



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