Supporters of Ahmed Saleh call on him to run for president
On Tuesday a few hundred protesters gathered in the capital’s Al-Sabaeen Square in support of Ahmed Ali Saleh, the son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The protest was fairly small, but attendees said a bigger one is planned for Friday, March 13. The former president and his son still garner considerable support among residents of Sana’a, and a pro-Saleh demonstration in November drew many thousands.
After demonstrating in Al-Sabaeen Square, at noon Tuesday the protesters headed to Ahmed Saleh’s house in the nearby Hadda neighborhood. Speaking to the Yemen Times, many protesters outside his house called on Ahmed to return to Yemen and run for president.
The protesters lifted photos of Ahmed and chanted for him to “save Yemen” and lead the country. “Peacefully or violently, Ahmed Ali will be our president,” they chanted.
Ahmed previously served as head of the now-dissolved Republican Guard, and since early 2013 has been Yemen’s ambassador to the UAE.
The protest came a day after Ahmed’s father, the former president, gave a speech in Sana’a in the company of prominent tribal figures from Taiz governorate.
In his speech, Saleh blamed Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi for the ongoing instability. He said that Hadi, who resigned as president on Jan. 22, should not have withdrawn his resignation because he has become unable to take responsibility for bringing the nation’s opposing parties together.
Another protest was held Tuesday, in Taiz city. Protesters opposing Ali Abdullah Saleh voiced their disagreement with his speech and called instead for people to support Hadi as the legitimate president of Yemen. To voice this support, a convoy of 20, which included parliamentarians, lawyers, journalists, academics, and activists, headed from Taiz to Aden.
Only a few hundred gathered outside Ahmed Ali Saleh’s home in the capital’s Hadda neighborhood. However, many protesters are convinced an upcoming protest planned for Friday will draw many thousands.
Naji Mohammad, 40, from Ibb governorate, said, “We are fed up with poverty and the misconduct by current politicians. We need Ahmed Ali to come back from the UAE and reform what others have spoiled.”
“No one deserves to be the president except for Ahmed Ali, he loves Yemen and loves the Yemeni people as his father taught him to love his country and how to be a good person,” said Mohammad Motahar (right), 49, a resident of Sana’a.
Jameel Mohammed (left), 22, from Amran governorate, says “once Ahmed Ali left the military in 2012, the Yemeni army and security have been damaged and their loyalty deviated from the homeland to a few influential figures. We need Ahmed Ali to reform Yemen as he built the strong Republican Guard in the past.”
“We came from Marib governorate to support Ahmed Ali to be our president. No one else can save Yemen like him,” said Yahya Nasser (left), aged 37.
While photos, stickers and signs celebrating both Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son can be seen around Sana’a, vendors have told the Yemen Times previously that those bearing Ahmed’s face have grown in popularity since Hadi fled to Aden.
As with previous protests in support of the former president and his son, there was a low turnout from women.
The majority of protesters carried photos and placards bearing the image of Ahmed Ali Saleh, rather than his father, and called on the son of the former president to “save Yemen.”