Violence continued apace this morning in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, where military forces opened fire with mortars on unarmed pro-democracy protesters, killing at least 10. A relative calm returned to the streets in the afternoon, however, when Major General Hadi announced a ceasefire negotiated with US and British ambassadors’ help.
The recent violence started when troops began opening fire on protesters on Sunday, using anti-aircraft guns against the demonstrations. Attacks continued into Monday, when protesters marched on the Republican Guard base and captured it.
The sudden interest in a ceasefire by the regime must inevitably raise questions that, while it was couched in humanitarian terms by Western officials, the only reason Hadi was so open to the idea was because once again killing protesters doesn’t seem to be working.
How long the ceasefire holds will likely be a function of how long the regime manages to avoid attacking the protesters or their leadership. The last ceasefire, brokered after President Saleh fled to Saudi Arabia, lasted for months before troops again moved against top tribal leaders of the protest movement.