After spending three months in Saudi Arabia recovering from an assassination attempt, President Saleh returned to Yemen and a violent reaction to his homecoming:
President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for a truce as he returned to Yemen today after more than three months abroad, amid fighting between government troops and opposition forces demanding his ouster.
Saleh believes a truce and a cease-fire are needed so that a solution to the crisis can be reached through dialogue, Tarik al-Shami, spokesman for the ruling General People's Congress, said today by phone. The president will address the nation on Sept. 25, al-Shami said.
"Tell the returning mass killer, we will prosecute him," crowds chanted in al-Siteen Street in Sana'a. In the capital's al-Sabeen Square, another group gathered in a show of support for the president.
Unrest escalated this week after the Organization Committee of the Popular Youth Revolution urged Yemenis to intensify protests demanding an end to Saleh's three-decade rule. At least a dozen people were killed yesterday during demonstrations in Sana'a, bringing this week's death toll to almost 100.
A deal is being hammered out between Saleh's government and opposition parties that would have Saleh still in power until elections are held sometime in the future. But no one expects Saleh to honor it, and the street demonstrators are unalterably opposed. A civil war has broken out as elements of the armed forces are facing off against each other and civilians are getting killed in the crossfire.
The bleeding will continue until one side scores a decisive victory. And that may be a long time coming.