Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday called his tribal loyalists to take part in a counter- opposition demonstration planned for Friday as opposition-backed ongoing protesters vowed to press his resignation very soon.
“The president met many chieftains of tribes today and yesterday and called them to gather their fellows to hold a demonstration to show their support to him on Friday,” a senior government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
State news agency Saba reported on Thursday that clerics, tribal chiefs, civil society figures, dignitaries and youths across Yemeni provinces arrived in the capital Sanaa on Thursday to take part in the rally dubbed “Friday of Solidarity”.
Besides pro-government tribes who arrived from nearby suburbs of the capital, Saba said crowds of loyalists are also on their way to Sanaa from northwest province of Hajja and southern provinces of Al-Bayda, Ibb and Al-Dhalee.
Meanwhile, youth-led anti-government street protesters across major provinces, including Sanaa, commemorated on Thursday dozens of protesters killed during the past weeks and also planed to hold a massive demonstration on Friday.
Those protesters, who do not agree to any negotiations or conciliation talks with Saleh, said they will take to the streets towards the presidential palace on Friday as “A Day of Liberation”, one of the protest organizers named Ali al-Fakih told Xinhua.
“Maybe we will put off the planned march for fears of violence, but the plan still exists now and it may possibly be implemented,” said al-Fakih.
Standoff between Saleh and his opponents resulted in deterioration of economic situation as well as security stability this month after the government pulled police out from some towns.
The General Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry said in a statement obtained by Xinhua that the weeks-long street protests have negatively affected the economic activities after a lot of vendors stopped their businesses due to fear of violence or deterioration of the national currency against the U.S. dollar.
“The serious deterioration in the security situation inside major cities has impacted on economic activity and the lives of people,” read the statement.
The large absence of police and security deterioration in some southern provinces led anti-government protesters to set up militias for self-defense, while well-armed resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) seized control over some remote areas.
The U.S.-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki wrote an article in AQAP’s English-language media outlet Inspire published late on Wednesday, saying the revolts sweeping the Arab world would help rather than harm the Islamic group.
“Even if the upcoming governments wants to continue to carry out the policy from the West and Israel, they would not have enough strength and power that the previous governments had developed over the past three decades,” al-Awlaki said in his article. Agencies