SANA’A, Mar. 30 — Since the state of emergency was announced this week, more people have received threats to stop opposing the regime. Some of the armed forces that joined the anti-government protests told the Yemen Times that they have received threats to change their position.
Major Mohammad Al-Khadari, secretary of the armed forces coalition at the anti-government protests, said that earlier this week he was forcibly taken to a police station for carrying his gun.
“Yemeni law allows me to walk holding my gun as a soldier, and if I am wearing my uniform then it even allows me to carry my Kalashnikov. This is true even though a state of emergency has been announced. But the police stopped me and violently took me to the station,” said Al-Khadari.
Al-Khadari told the Yemen Times that he has not been the only member of the armed forces to face intimidation. The coalition has learned that some officers have been detained, others have had their military rank reduced by the state, and many others have not yet received their salaries.
Air Force Major Mohammad Hezam [confirmed that almost 85 percent of the armed forces are for the revolution. “They face pressures that prevent them from joining, but they work for the revolution from within their positions,” said Hezam, speaking from “Change Sqaure” in Sana’a. The Yemen Times has learnt that in locations 61 and 62 in Arhab soldiers from the republican guards lay down in front of tanks to prevent them from going out into the city to attack its citizens.
In Taiz, which is witnessing the largest anti-government demonstrations, activist Saud Al-Qadasi who holds some anti-government meetings at her office, was the target of an attack by pro-government ‘thugs’ last Sunday.
President Saleh called on the permanent committee of the ruling party on Sunday to form public neighborhood committees to protect their neighborhoods. This call came hours after pro-government ‘thugs’ attacked the Women’s Forum for Research and Training Center in Taiz.
The center was attacked while 50 activists and journalists were holding a meeting to discuss ways of coordinating the efforts of protesters and other coalitions. According to a statement issued by the center, activists were prevent from entering the center by ‘thugs’, one of which was holding a bomb and threatening to explode it in the center if the remaining activists did not leave.
The statement said that one of the ‘thugs’ claimed that the center belonged to the Joint Meetings Parties and was being used to hide weapons. Al-Qadasi informed the police who arrived at the scene, but according to Al-Qadasi the police neither searched the center nor questioned the accusing pro-government supporters. She said that the center was surrounded by the ‘thugs’ for over two hours. Al-Qadasi holds the Taiz governor responsible for the action.
A distributor for the Yemen Times was questioned by a soldier at a street check point while distributing the newspaper. The front page of the last issue of the newspaper showed a photo of anti-government protesters holding banners saying “leave.” The soldiers asked why the photo was displayed on the paper, but the distributor answered that it’s not his job to check the newspaper and that he doesn’t read English.