Mar 26, 2011

Yemen generals defect to anti-government ranks

By Cynthia Johnston in Sanaa

Tuesday March 22 2011

Three senior army commanders defected to anti-government ranks in Yemen yesterday and ordered their tanks on to the capital's streets in a show of force.

Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the army's powerful 1st Armoured Division, announced his defection in a message to protest leaders at the square in Sanaa that has become the centre of their movement.

Some of the division's tanks then deployed in the square, which protesters have occupied for more than a month to call for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 32 years in power.

A crackdown on the demonstrations escalated on Friday when Mr Saleh's forces opened fire from rooftops, killing more than 40 in an assault that caused much of his remaining power base to splinter.

The president appeared to be retaining the loyalty of at least some of Yemen's military. Defence Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed said the armed forces would counter any plots against "constitutional legitimacy" and "democracy".

- Cynthia Johnston in Sanaa

Irish Independent

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Hi, my name is kim. I'm studying at the University of Amsterdam, and created a blog about the situation in the Middle East. I am currently in Egypt for my studdies. Happy reading!

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This blog will follow up the revolutionary situation in the Middle-East, e.g. countries like Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunis, Morocco, Yemen and so on, including their dictators such as Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali, Muammar Gaddafi..
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