The weeks of public protests against the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen appeared to gain a significant boost on Sunday, when members of the political opposition announced they were officially supporting the protest movement for the first time.
The move swelled the protests when they first started marching on Monday and Tuesday, but it also sparked concerns amongst the students that the political faction would “hijack” the revolution to their own ends.
Those concerns seem like they may be realized today as, just a couple of days into joining the protest movement, the political opposition announced that they have reached a “deal” with President Saleh to meet their demands. Which don’t include his immediate resignation.
Rather, Saleh will under the deal have until the start of 2012 to announce his “exit plan,” which would include an eventual transfer of power to someone else. Since Saleh had already promised he wouldn’t run for reelection, this eventual “exit plan” might just be a reiteration of that. Another demand, that Saleh take responsibility for the killings of protesters, does not appear to have been agreed to.
The deal has the political opposition declaring victory, but it appears to have angered the student protesters, who say that the public rallies must continue until Saleh is ousted. With the agreement in place, however, it seems the regime will have more political support for declaring the protesters renegades against the political power base.
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