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Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets demanding an end to the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for more than three decades. The unrest turned ugly as protesters clashed with police and government loyalists in Sanaa on the fourth consecutive day of rallies.

 

Thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh came up against a smaller crowd backing the veteran leader.

 

Similar demonstrations were reported across the country, including in the south, calling for a secession of the south from the rest of the country. Injuries were reported.

 

Saleh announced that he does not plan to stand for elections in 2013, only weeks after the ruling party announced that they were changing the law to allow him to remain president for life.

 

February 11-14, 2011

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


 

Ongoing demonstrations in Yemen are encouraged by the success of the Egyptian revolution. The president has already backed down from attempts to remain president for life. However, demonstrations do not trust this gesture as Saleh has announced before the 2006 elections that he did not want to stand, but stood afterall to win another term.

 

The situation remains hugely complicated for the Yemen authorities, as the demands of the mass protests are diverse, not only undermining the Saleh regime, but also the country’s unity. Demonstrations in the south are calling for complete secession are only likely to be intensified, and the demonstrators may be supported by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – though unwillingly.

 

It is not clear what the likely outcome of the demonstrations will be, however there is an increased likelihood of further civil unrest, and the possibility of secession, as well as regime change. The parameters in the Yemen crisis make predicting the outcome highly complex, except that the country faces serious unrest and trouble in the coming weeks.