Tensions are soaring once again in Yemen today, following attacks on civilian protesters by regime forces Saturday which killed at least nine. Opposition figures are pointing the finger squarely at US Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, whose comments they see as encouragement for the bloody crackdown.
Feierstein held a press conference on the eve of the protest, which saw tens of thousands marching from Taiz to the capital city of Sanaa, and insisted that protesting against the government was “not peaceful,” insisting that the only reason demonstrators were marching against the regime was to “provoke a violent response.”
Feierstein seemed to indicate that the subsequent violent crackdown was in keeping with US policy toward its own protesters, saying that “if 2,000 people decided to protest against the White House in the US, we do not consider it a peaceful act and will not allow this.”
With the Obama Administration apparently solidly backing new Yemeni dictator Major General Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the regime is also getting more bellicose in its public statements against the pro-democracy protesters, warning that they would consider cancelling the power-sharing deal with the political opposition if people didn’t stop protesting in public.
Which probably won’t bother the protesters much at any rate, since the deal basically allowed everyone to escape prosecution for the bloody year-long crackdown on dissent, transferred the government without any reform from the aging Saleh to Hadi, and came with the added bonus of allowing Hadi to run unopposed in the next presidential election. The political opposition, which was only ever tangentially related to the popular opposition, was given a few posts in an interim cabinet in return for promising not to oppose Hadi’s rule.
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