Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in protest in the capital Sanaa, calling for the government to resign on the third anniversary of the start of the 2011 protests that ended in former president Abdullah Saleh stepping down in early 2012.
Saleh had ruled Yemen for 33 years but was forced to relinquish power to his then vice-president Mansour Hadi in February of 2012 in a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the U.S. Saleh, his relatives, and others were given immunity from prosecution for any crimes committed during the crackdown on protests in which many were killed.
Hadi was elected in a single candidate election in late February of 2012. Saleh's relatives and cronies still hold government posts and Saleh himself is still regarded as having considerable influence in Yemeni politics. The protesters claim that the Hadi government is full of corrupt officials. A protester told Press TV: “We came out today to demand the downfall of this government and prosecution of corrupt Yemeni ministers who have robbed the nation,” Another protester said: “We call on the Yemeni people to revolt against this corrupt government and stand firm and united to demand their basic rights." The former protest movement seemed to die out after the downfall of Saleh and the beginning of a National Dialogue to map a way forward and reconcile different political factions. However there was a recent protest against Total the big French oil and gas company.
The protests were led by Tawakkul Karman the winner of a 2011 Nobel Peace prize for her earlier activism against Saleh. She issued a statement which read in part: The Council of the Peaceful Revolutionary Youth calls for a mass rally next Thursday to march to the President's residence to demand revocation of the LNG sale agreements concluded with the French company TOTAL, the Korean company Cogas and French GDF Suez after it became clear such agreements were reached in violation of the laws and inflicted damage to public interests.”
A committee chaired by President Hadi decided on a division of Yemen into six federal areas as requested by the National Dialogue before it ended. However both the Houthi separatists in the north and many southern movement separatists in the south have rejected the plan. In rejecting the plan Nasser al-Nawber the founder of the Hirak southern movement said: We will continue our peaceful struggle until we achieve independence. The planned federation has also sparked protests already as shown in the appended video.