Hundreds defect from Yemen's military Skip to main content

Hundreds defect from Yemen's military

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- More than 400 troops defected from the Yemeni military Saturday evening, saying they would no longer attack unarmed protesters.

The troops announced their defection after standing for hours in front of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in Sanaa and vowing to support their cause with their lives.

"We will stand with the will of the people and will not kill unarmed youth. We are here to defend the people and we will do that," one soldier told CNN.

"The butcher must stand trial," the troops shouted as they marched in what has been known as Change Square Sanaa.

The organizing committee in the square announced this week that dozens of unarmed youth activists were killed by government forces over the past month. The committee says nearly 1,000 youths have been killed by the government since protests began in January.

Hours after the celebration, the defecting troops were welcomed at the military compound of Gen. Mohsen Ahmar, who defected from the government forces in March.

The majority of the troops were members of the Republican Guards and central security forces, which are headed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son and nephew.

Youth activists celebrated the defection.

"With every day that passes, this oppressive regime is weakened," Abdul Nasser al-Kulaibi, a youth protester in Sanaa, told CNN. "Saleh will soon be surprised to see the rug beneath him pulled away and he will fall without expecting it."

He added, "Change will happen and we will not stop marching against the regime. More than 1,000 of us have died. It's too late to stop now."

Earlier in the day, state media reported that Saleh and senior government officials visited thousands of Republican Guard troops and encouraged them to stand firm in defending the country.

Saleh told the troops that Yemen's leaders are "willing to sacrifice for the sake of the country, but you will stay. You will remain here even if we let go of authority, because you are the authority," according to state media.

Saleh's country has been the scene of violent protests for months as his opponents demand he leave power after 33 years in office. Government troops have responded with live fire to protests, according to medics and opposition sources.

The guards number more than 80,000 and are considered the most powerful force in the country.

Saleh blasted the opposition forces and called them "gangs that cut off roads." He said those who have defected are part of the past.

"Yemen will not collapse. Yemen is steadfast due to its people and military," Saleh said.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g