Yemenis protest against regime loyalists in new cabinet

AFP , Thursday 8 Dec 2011

The Yemeni street protests against cooperation with ex-regime remnants appointed to new unity government

Tens of thousands of Yemenis marched in the streets of the Yemeni capital on Thursday, chanting "no partnership with murderers," in reference to former regime loyalists that have been appointed to the newly formed unity government.

Yemen's Prime-Minister designate Mohammed Basindawa announced the new government Wednesday, with half the cabinet posts entrusted to members of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party, and the other half to the opposition.

"Basindawa, they cannot be trusted," chanted the protesters as they marched through the streets of Sanaa, whole swaths of which have been devastated by months of fighting between anti-government and pro-Saleh forces.

"No partnership with the murderers," they yelled.

The protesters, thousands of whom camped out in Change Square -- the epicentre of the pro-democracy movement that has rocked the country since January -- have endured the brunt of a brutal government crackdown on dissent.

Hundreds of Yemenis have been killed and thousands more wounded in more than 11 months of demonstrations that continue despite a Gulf-sponsored power transfer deal to ensure Saleh's ouster.

The protesters, most of them youth activists, have also expressed dismay with the formal opposition for signing the Gulf Cooperation Council plan which promises Saleh immunity from prosecution for alleged crimes committed against Yemenis since the uprising.

The new government will be formally sworn in on Saturday, according to a statement from the official news agency SABA, and will carry out its duties for a period of three months, after which early elections will be held and Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi is expected to take over the presidency.

Until then, Saleh remains honorary president, and despite the formation of a committee to restructure the country's military forces as stipulated by the transition plan, most units are still under the command of Saleh's sons and nephews.

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