First Armored Division to leave ‘home’ at Sana’a University

Published on 24 December 2012 in News
Ashraf Al-Muraqab (author)

Ashraf Al-Muraqab

Protestors and security clash during the protest. (Photo: Asa’a al-Emad)

Protestors and security clash during the protest. (Photo: Asa’a al-Emad)

SANA’A — Doctor Abdulhakeem Al-Shearjabi, chancellor of Sana’a University, said that an agreement has been reached with Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, the former commander of the First Armored Division (FAD), to remove all soldiers from the Sana’a University’s campus in a week. Several students were injured on Saturday in a protest against the military presence.

This agreement puts an end to the deployment of soldiers and military affiliated with the FAD at the university. They have been there since Al-Ahmar joined the 2011 revolution.

Al-Shearjabi told the state-run Saba News Agency that lessons will resume at the university  next Saturday with the military completely gone, according to the agreement.

Al-Shearjabi praised Al-Ahmar’s cooperation in providing an appropriate ground for the educational process and also his determination to keep the university away from political conflicts.

 This agreement comes at the heels of a mass protest Sana’a University students staged after complaining about the presence of soldiers and demanding their removal. Thousands of Sana’a University students, political activists and academics gathered on Saturday and demanded that soldiers be removed from the campus. Raising banners at the entrance of the university, they called on Al-Ahmar to evacuate his soldiers.

Rana Al-Absi, one of the protest’s organizers, said that the protest headed towards the Ministry of Higher Education and handed over a statement to a representative of the Ministry, demanding the speedy removal of the soldiers from the university.

Abdulrazaq Al-Azazi, a student activist, said the Cabinet guards fired bullets to break up the protest and used batons to beat the protesters minutes after the protesters arrived at the front of the Cabinet building.

Hundreds of students of Sana’a University and dozens of activists flocked on Saturday to the eastern entrance of the university in response to the Ana Nazel (I’m participating) campaign and chanted several slogans demanding the removal of soldiers from the campus and entrances of the university.

Several days before the campaign, university students and activists used Facebook to call on students to participate.

 Majed Al-Sho’aibi, an organizer of the campaign, said that the students have repeatedly demanded that the FAD soldiers be replaced by civil guards but no action was taken.

 During the clashes with the pro-Saleh forces last year, the soldiers of the FAD shielded themselves in the buildings of the university and built several barricades there.