For some President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s expected return to Sanaa is seen as a long awaited homecoming of Yemen’s rightful ruler. For many, many others his expected return on Sunday is derided as the re-establishing of an unwanted dictator, propped up by foreign meddling, in particular by the US.
Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Sanaa on Friday calling for civil rule and putting an end of foreign interference in Yemen’s
Abdullah Murad, an anti government protester who participated in today’s protest told Global Post: “It’s a disgrace that the ruling family killed hundreds of unarmed peaceful protesters and the so-called US democracy is supporting the killers and ignoring the will of the people. We will not stop protesting until the oppressive military regime falls and civil law prevails after decades of oppression in Yemen.”
Yemen’s most powerful tribal leader, Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, head of Hashed tribe, accused the US ambassador in Sanaa of being “the real ruler in Yemen today” in a sign of discomfort at US intervention in Yemeni affairs, despite the demand of White House counter terrorism chief that Saleh step down.
The news of Saleh’s expected return was greeted by others as cause for celebration. The president was evacuated to Saudi Arabia for medical attention after an assassination attempt left him badly burned.
Just five miles from where the massive opposition rally was being held, hundreds of thousands of pro-Saleh followers also gathered.
A supporter of the president, Abdul Nasser al-Ansi, told Global Post: “Our president will be back soon and will rule until his term ends. Even if Saleh decides to step down from power, we will not accept any other ruler except through elections.”
“President Saleh will be welcomed as a brother, a father, and a leader of the ordinary people. The opposition’s dirty games will end in failure and they will be forced to give in to the demands of the Yemeni people,” he said.