SANAA, Jan. 6 – Sana’a Police Patrolmen’s demands to officially oust their director remain on hold as they were told by the Interior Minister on Wednesday that this change requires a presidential decree, not possible until after presidential elections in Feb, 21, 2012.
Patrol Director Colonel Abdu al-Ghani Al-Wajeeh as the protestors claim is corrupt and bias in his management decisions which affected their careers. Al-Wajeeh had held his position for more than 11 years despite having many complaints made against him during that span.
“Our demand is to remove him from his position and to hold him accountable…where did he get his money from?” said Saeed Saleh, one of the protesters.
On Jan 1, 2011, the colonel was suspended in an effort by the head of the Security Administration to calm the protesters. The Protest Committee raised its demands, asking for the change to be made final by the interior minister. However, they were content to wait until February, putting an end to the protests had started on Dec. 28, 2011 in front of the Security Administration facility at Tahrir Square in Sana’a.
“The change was big’ the temporary director is known to be an impartial person that would help to improve the facility,” said the head of the committee, who asked to remain anonymous after members of the committee received death threats.
The timing of the patrolmens’ actions is part of a larger institutional movement that has been taking place since December 2011. The atmosphere of change that came as a result of the Arab Spring provided inspiration for what may be the beginning of an institutional revolution in Yemen. “They are soldiers, we are soldiers too; they are armed, we are armed too. But we chose to make our demands peacefully,” said Mohammed Sameer, a soldier.
The fact that soldiers from the Security Administration have started to protest also raises questions about the performance of – and difficulties faced by – the Military Committee during the present time.
Protests at security institutions add further difficulties to the committee’s work. The Yemen Times contacted Interior minister Abd al-Qader Qahtan to clarify the situation. “We are doing our best to heal the situation,” he commented, adding that he can’t issue any press statements before at least one month has passed.
“We will not be protesting for long, as we are a service facility, and the city would soon be in chaos if we did so,” one of the organizers for the patrolmen’s protest told the Yemen Times.
Those protesting told the Yemen Times that they were forced to protect the “thugs” in Tahrir Square for the past ten months. As on February 2 of 2011, when pro-regime protesters took over Tahrir Square as part of a bid to keep President Ali Abdullah Saleh in power. Orders to clash with anti-government protesters were also given.