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After mass protests in Egypt and a popular uprising in Tunisia that ousted its long-time leader, thousands of Yemenis demonstrated  in the capital Sanaa, calling on Ali Abdullah Saleh, president for more than 30 years, to step down. A major demonstration of over 16,000 protestors took place on 27 January in Yemen's capital. Saleh announced he would not run for reelection in 2013 and that he would not pass power to his son. More people protested against the government in Sana'a and Aden, in a "Day of Rage." The regime responded by offering interminable talks, promising concessions, and threatening and delivering violence. The slaughter of peaceful protesters in Sanaa caused a schism both within the ruling General People's Congress (GPC), and President Saleh's Sanhani clan. Senior politicians resigned and formed the centrist Justice and Development bloc. Key Sanhani military commanders sided with the people, as did the leading family of al-Hashid (the most effective tribal confederation), potential rivals to Saleh's sons for the presidency. The Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates), supported by the West, stepped up efforts to negotiate a solution, involving a phased transitional process and an amnesty for the president and his close circle. But Saleh refused to sign the plan.

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Electronic Texts & Documents

  • Yemen between reform and revolution: Popular protest in North Africa and the Middle East (II)
  • Security Council Condemns Human Rights Violations Resolution 2014 (2011), Adopted unanimously (21 October, 2011) ...  a resolution to condemn violence in Yemen, where demonstrators, government forces and rival factions have been embroiled in months of unrest. The 15-0 vote demands that Yemen allow peaceful demonstrations to take place and to end government crackdowns on civilians.
  • Days of Bloodshed in Aden A report by Human Rights Watch. (9 March 2011; 38 pages)
  • "No safe places" : Yemen's crackdown on protests in Taizz / Letta Tayler. New York, N.Y. : Human Rights Watch, c2012. [PDF]. In February 2011, Yemenis inspired by mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt began taking to the streets to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. For the next 11 months, the state security forces responded with brutal force. While international attention has focused on Yemen's capital, Sanaa, some of the worst attacks took place in the city of Taizz, a center of resistance  250 kilometers to the south. There, Human Rights Watch found, security forces and pro-government gangs killed at least 120 civilians and wounded hundreds more in assaults on demonstrations and in military operations against opposition armed groups. This report is based on more than 170 interviews with protesters and other witnesses to the violence. The report documents the Yemeni security forces' repeated use of unnecessary lethal force against largely peaceful demonstrations in Taizz. It also details the military's apparently indiscriminate shelling of populated areas in the city during attacks on opposition fighters, and the blocking of medical care to those injured in the clashes.  On January 21, 2012, Yemen's parliament granted blanket amnesty to Saleh and partial immunity to all other officials in his government in exchange for his promise to resign. The report explains that international law does not recognize immunity for serious international crimes. It calls on foreign courts and Yemen's transitional government to investigate the bloodshed in Taizz and prosecute those responsible. Failure to serve justice, the report warns, will reinforce Yemen's destructive culture of impunity. (Summary. -- Recommendations. -- Methodology. -- Background. -- Attacks on protesters. -- Killings of civilians during attacks on opposition fighters. -- Denial of medical care. -- State forces and non-state armed groups in Taizz. -- Lack of accountability. -- Acknowledgments.)