Popular pressure in the Middle East turns to Yemen

By staff writers
February 2, 2011

Many thousands of people are set to take to the streets in a 'day of anger' in Yemen tomorrow (Thursday 3 February 2011), demanding substantial economic and political change.

The demonstration follows in the wake of many smaller 'people power' protests in Yemen, following on from similar developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, with 40 per cent of its citizens - whose average age is 24 years - living on less than $2 (£1.25) a day. It suffers from weak government, water shortages, falling oil revenues, diminishing inward investment, a 35 per cent unemployment level and a 50 per cent illiteracy rate.

In the face of mounting popular pressure, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says he will not seek to extend his presidency when his current term expires in 2013, according to reports on the BBC and elsewhere.

Mr Saleh, who became president of North Yemen in 1978, and has been in power for three decades, also pledged that he would not pass on power to his son. He was speaking to parliament ahead of Thursday's rally in the capital on Thursday.

When the country was united with South Yemen in 1990, Saleh became president of the new republic.

Also on Ekklesia:

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Christians 'indispensible' to Middle East societies - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14038


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