Yemenis Join Egyptians, Tunisians in Protests, Bomb Kills 35 at Iraqi Funeral
Yemeni students march through the streets of the capital Sanaa on their way to the Tunisian embassy on Jan. 26, 2011. (Gamal Noman/AFP/Getty Images)
Inspired by the protests in Tunisia that ousted the country’s president and by the demonstrations in Cairo, thousands of Yemenis marched in the capital, Sanaa, carrying signs and calling for its president of more than three decades, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to leave office. The demonstrators, which included opposition members and students, also railed against corruption and poverty. Many referred to the uprising in Tunisia.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with President Saleh earlier this month to discuss concerns over Yemen’s extremist elements. The United States sends military aid, but the country lacks the resources to eliminate jihadist elements, as Margaret Warner reported during her reporting trip there.
Half of Yemen’s population is literate, and just under half live below the poverty line.
The protests have raised questions about how unrest in Tunisia and Egypt will affect other nations in the region, where such mass public gatherings are rare.
Egypt Protests Continue Despite Crackdown
Demonstrators in Cairo continued their anti-government-themed protests despite increased police presence. Many are calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in office. Police have arrested an estimated 860 protesters and dispersed tear gas, rubber bullets and water canons. Six people across the country have died in the clashes.
Anonymous organizers have spurred the message via text messages and online postings, despite the government’s block of the social media site Twitter.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, was rumored to be returning to Egypt. His brother said ElBaradei is returning to participate in the protests. Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, also indicated that they would be joining the demonstrations.
Egypt’s stock market has been shaken by the instability, with stocks falling by 10 percent Thursday.
Car Bombs Kills 40 at Baghdad Funeral
A car bomb exploded at a funeral in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad, killing at least 40 people. The vehicle had been parked alongside other mourners’ cars to remain inconspicuous. A rash of attacks in the past week have killed 200 people. Many of the attacks have targeted Shiites, including pilgrims traveling to Karbala.
The recent violence has raised concerns about an upcoming withdrawal of U.S. troops and whether Iraqi security forces can combat the frequent attacks. It has also tested the coalition government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Snowstorm Grips Northeast
A major winter storm from the mid-Atlantic through parts of New England has grounded air transportation, closed or delayed schools, closed offices and left many without power.
Many federal offices in Washington, D.C. will remain closed on Thursday, and runways at Washington’s major airports shut down Wednesday evening as icy rain and snow rapidly accumulated around the city. There were major flight cancellations or delays at airports in Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Newark, N.J.
Storm warnings expired Thursday morning, but the cleanup is expected to continue throughout the day.
Mine Blast in Colombia Kills 21
A coal mine blast, possibly caused by a buildup up methane, killed 21 miners Wednesday in northeast Colombia. Searchers continued to look for survivors. It was the latest in a series of deadly mine explosions in South America, including a blast in June that killed 70 miners in Colombia. The country is one of the top exporters of coal in the world.