Strikes hit Political Security

Published on 30 January 2012 in News
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Thousands of Yemen’s Air Force soldiers are on strike, demanding the departure of their Commander.   Photo by Reuters

Thousands of Yemen’s Air Force soldiers are on strike, demanding the departure of their Commander. Photo by Reuters

SANA’A – Dozens of Political Security Organization (PSO) soldiers and officers commenced a 4-hour strike on Sunday, with demands for administrative and economic reforms.


The protesters, who held their strike in front of the gate of the PSO building, threatened to demand the removal of the head of the PSO, General Ghaleb Al-Qamish, if he doesn’t constructively respond to the protesters’ demands


The Political Security Organization is understood to have a bad reputation among many Yemenis. Some of its officials have been accused of torturing detainees and arresting Yemeni citizens without cause.


Colonel Jamal Al-Shayef of the PSO, who was one of the protesters on Sunday, told the Yemen Times that all of the PSO soldiers’ and officers’ demands were fair and legal.


“Unfortunately, our finances have been deducted from unjustly by influential, high-ranking officers here,” he said. “Promotion is also a random matter, and minimum standards for employment are not set.”


Al-Shayef stated that soldiers and officers may demand that the head of the PSO step down.


“It’s unacceptable for any official to stay in his position for tens of years and deal with governmental positions as if they are property for themselves and their sons,” he said. “We really need new faces that can change the performance of the PSO for the better.”


According to Al-Shayef, other PSO soldiers and officers in various governorates also started strikes, making the same demands.


At the same time, thousands of Yemen’s Air Force soldiers have continued to strike, demanding the departure of Commander General Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar, the half-brother of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


Colonel Abdul-Wahab Al-Samie of Yemen’s Air Force, said their demands remain unmet despite  massive protests over the past couple weeks against Al-Ahmar.


Speaking to the Yemen Times, Al-Samie said, “We will escalate our actions if Al-Ahmar doesn’t respond to our demands.”


Al-Samie pointed out that the demonstrations against Al-Ahmar have gained momentum.


“Thousands of Air Force soldiers and students from the Military Aviation College joined us recently in different governorates,” he said.


Al-Samie said that the vice president promised that their demands would be met, and asked them to be patient and return to work.


Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar resorted to his son to crack down on the protesters at the beginning of the strike.


“They were not able to weaken our determination,” said Al-Samie. “We’re determined to continue our struggle to make those arrogant people step down.”


After President Saleh signed the Gulf initiative on November 23, 2012, several state institutions and ministries witnessed huge strikes against corrupt officials known for their close relations with outgoing President Saleh.