The departure of Yemeni president, President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia, has lead to both jubilation and violence among the people of Yemen.
Celebrations took place in the capital, Sana‘a’s University Square, and tens of thousands took their chanting and flag waving to the streets to rejoice in what could be the end of Saleh’s 33-year rule.
There were reports of explosions and gunfire in Sana‘a and Taiz in the south, leaving at least two anti-government gunmen dead and four soldiers wounded.
The United States and Britain are pressing Saudi Arabia to persuade Saleh to formally stand down after flying to Riyadh, according to the Guardian. Saleh flew to the neighbouring kingdom to treat injuries that were sustained in a shelling in Sanna on Friday.
Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has replaced Saleh in his absence, and is in command of the armed forces and security services.
Saleh underwent two successful operations on Sunday on his chest and neck, Saudi officials said, suggesting he would be returning to Sana‘a after recovering. The General People’s Congress, Yemen’s ruling party, insisted that Saleh would be back. Reports show diplomats and analysts expressing doubt that Saudis would let him return.
Yemen’s conflict began in January with peaceful anti-government protests inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but in recent weeks developed into street battles between government forces and fighters loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, chief of the Yemeni Hashid.