Yemen president calls for dialogue amid riots

Yemen's president on Thursday called for dialogue instead of violence, in response to a wave of riots in the south of the impoverished country that have left dozens injured.

Yemen president calls for dialogue amid riots
"Instead of demonstrations, burning tyres and cutting off roads, those who have a complaint or problem are welcome to parliament," Ali Abdullah Saleh said in a speech to officials.

"Tampering with national security is not acceptable."

Youths demanding army jobs have rioted in several towns in the south of Yemen over the past 10 days.

There have been demands for the secession of the south, home to Yemen's oil industry, and officials say they are concerned dissidents and secessionists are seeking to exploit the unrest.

The government and the army are among the main sources of employment in Yemen, one of the poorest countries outside Africa. More than half the workforce is in the agricultural sector and one diplomat estimated unemployment at 17 percent.

About 42 percent of Yemenis live in poverty, according to World Bank figures, particularly those in rural areas, where three-quarters of the country's population reside.

Yemen's per capita GDP was estimated at $723 in 2006, according to a U.S. State Department report.

Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Megawar said that 22 Yemeni soldiers had been hurt and 75 shops and government offices were damaged or looted in the unrest between March 30 and April 9. It was not clear how many civilians were hurt.

He said in a speech to officials that 283 people had been detained during the protests but 161 of them have been released.

Opposition politicians say the authorities have arrested several members of the Yemen Socialist Party, a Marxist group that ruled the south of the country until 1990 when north and south Yemen were unified.

Last Mod: 10 Nisan 2008, 16:23
Add Comment