Strikes keep courts closed and threaten airport shutdown
These protests have occurred in key public sectors such as the military, the judiciary, education, and health. The momentum of the protests have caused them to be dubbed the ‘revolution of the institutions’.
After Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi was sworn in as Yemen’s new president the rallies dwindled. The remaining protests include those of the judges, air defense force personnel and sanitation workers, all of which have had an impact on the people.
The judge’s strike that started two months ago has caused people to complain that their cases are suspended, or are not being considered.
Judge Sarem Al-Deen Mufadhal, a member of the Judicial Forum in Sana’a, told the Yemen Times that all courts in Yemen remain closed due to the strike.
According to Mufadhal, judges are demanding the setting up of a new Judicial Council to replace the current one chaired by Issam Al-Samawi.
They are also demanding amendments to current legislation to give Yemen’s judiciary complete independence from the executive, administrative and security authorities. The also want the judicial authority’s budget be adapted so as to meet all its members’ needs and provide them with a decent living.
The judges suspended their strike during the week of the new president’s election in order to ensure a smooth and unobstructed electoral process, but resumed their strike on Feb. 25.
Many citizens feel angry and frustrated by the continued strike. Faisal Saleh said that he has been trying to file a suit for two weeks in vain.
“I hope that the problem will be settled soon so that people can follow-up their cases,” Saleh said.
A strike by cleaners in Sana’a and other governorates last month led to the accumulation of garbage on many streets, threatening an environmental and health disaster. The pungent stench was unbearable.
The workers are threatening to recommence their strike if they are not granted permanent contracts and given their financial entitlements.
In Ibb to the south of Sana’a, cleaners threw garbage on the streets last week and refused to carry out their duties until their demands are accommodated.
Strikes spread to the armed forces causing fractures within some military camps, but most of these protests were promptly dealt with. However, the largest protest, that by air force personnel, continues.
Air force personnel began their strike in early January, demanding that the Commander of the Air Forces, Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmar, step down. Al-Ahmar is also the former president’s half-brother. Two months on, their demand is still unfulfilled.
The most noticeable effect of the strike was operations at Sana’a International Airport being put on hold for an hour during the first sit-in on Jan. 22. This forced authorities to reschedule some flights to Aden International Airport.
Strikers were persuaded to move out of the airport, and relocated themselves to Al-Siteen Street, not far from the then vice-president’s house.
The protestors warn that they will march on Sana’a airport and Al-Dailami military air base unless their demands to remove Mohammed Al-Ahmar are taken seriously.
In Mahwit, traffic police remain on strike despite their former chief Col. Mohammed Al-Jaboubi being replaced with Mohammed Naji Al-Ammari.
A policeman said that people in the governorate are suffering because the traffic office has been closed for a month and because of the unstable and inappropriate appointments.