Yemen envoy to KSA backs protesters

An army officer raises his rifle as he joins anti-government protesters during a rally demanding the ouster of Yemen’s President’s Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a, March 21, 2011.
Yemen’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Ali al-Ahwal has voiced support for protesters, demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Ahwal expressed his support for protesters on Monday, following the brutal crackdown on demonstrators which has left dozens of people dead so far. However, it was not immediately clear whether he was leaving his post or resigning.

Earlier in the day, Yemen’s ambassador to Syria resigned from his post as well as from Saleh’s ruling party to show solidarity with protesters.

The governor of Yemen’s southern province of Aden, Ahmed Qaatabi, also resigned on Monday to protest the violent suppression of anti-government demonstrations, an official in his office said.

The developments come as scores of Yemeni military and civilian leaders have been defecting to the opposition side.

Scores of people have been killed and wounded during armed attacks by Saleh loyalists since the beginning of the popular revolution in January.

Top Yemeni tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar also joined a number of influential Yemeni clerics who have called on Saleh to meet the demands of protesters and end his decades-long rule to avoid further violence and bloodshed.

“I announce in the name of all the members of my tribe that I am joining the revolution,” Ahmar, the leader of the Hashid tribal confederation, the largest in Yemen, told Al-Jazeera television on Monday.

Late on Sunday, President Saleh sacked his entire government amid continued pressure from the oppression-weary public. He, however, did not show any sign that he would heed protesters’ demand and step down.


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