June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Anti-government demonstrations swept Yemen yesterday as hundreds of thousands of protesters in at least 15 provinces sought the immediate resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and formation of a transitional government.
“No to the ruling family,” people chanted in the capital Sana’a, calling for the expulsion of Saleh, his son Ahmed and nephew Ammar. “Relatives of Saleh and rest of the regime are hijacking power,” the people said.
Pro-democracy protesters have been calling for Saleh to step down since January. The president is recuperating in neighboring Saudi Arabia after being injured in a June 3 attack on his compound in the capital, leaving Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi in charge.
The Republican Guard, led by Saleh’s son, will follow Hadi’s orders and support his efforts to meet with the rebels, the defense ministry said on its Web site yesterday.
Saleh is to make a media appearance within 48 hours, his first since he was wounded, Al Arabiya television reported today, citing the president’s secretary. Saleh has ruled Yemen for 32 years.
In Libya, about 400 families that had been separated since the start of an uprising against that country’s leader Muammar Qaddafi were reunited with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Banks reopened in the besieged rebel-held city of Misrata.
More than 100 people returned today to Tripoli, the capital in western Libya, from the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi, on a ship chartered by the ICRC, spokesman Robin Woodo said. The same ship, the Ionis, sailed on June 24 from Tripoli to Benghazi with about 300 people in the first large-scale reunification, he told reporters at Tripoli’s port.
“There are hundreds of people who are stuck on the other side and waiting to go back to their families,” Woodo said.
Tripoli resident Mohammed Ghrewi broke down in tears and hugged his sister Mabrouka, whom he hasn’t seen for more than five months, as she stepped from the ship.
“Who would have thought that this will happen to us in Libya?” Ghrewi said. “By God, this cannot be!”
Some of the people waiting on the pier were holding portraits of Qaddafi and shouting the rallying slogan of his supporters: “God, Muammar, Libya and that’s enough.”
Qaddafi Won’t Leave
Rebels, with the support of NATO nations, have been fighting Qaddafi’s government for four months and U.S. President Barack Obama has called for him to step down.
“Qaddafi is leading the country. He will not leave. He will not step down,” Ibrahim Moussa, a government spokesman, told reporters in Tripoli yesterday. “If they want to continue the fight we are ready, we will fight street to street, house to house.”
In Misrata, long lines formed outside banks at daybreak across the city, with police supervising those waiting for withdrawals.
“It’s a good day,” said Hussein Al Jamal, 47, as he waited for his wife to make a withdrawal at the Alwaha Bank in central Misrata. “We need the banks to start the economy. With our banks working, everything will be possible.”
The re-opening was organized by the city council, which limited cash withdrawals to 300 dinars, worth about $150 on the local black market, amid concern that larger withdrawals could trigger inflation in a city still surrounded by pro-Qaddafi forces. Many teachers, doctors and other state workers haven’t been paid since January.
Across Syria, 10 people were killed June 25, according to Al Arabiya, and clashes have pushed the number of refugees in neighboring Turkey to 11,739, according to Anatolia news agency, which cited the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
One hundred children have been killed in Syria since the protests against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad began in mid- March, activist Obeida Faris told Al Arabiya.
Russia’s envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov is to meet a delegation of Syrian human rights activists in Moscow after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said al-Assad must end his crackdown against anti-government protesters. Margelov will meet the group tomorrow, he said in a text message.
--With assistance from Mohammed Hatem and Vivian Salama in Sana’a, Mayer Chmaytelli in Tripoli, Chris Stephen in Misrata, Henry Meyer and Marina Sysoyeva in Moscow and Zaid Sabah Abd Alhamid in Washington. Editors: Ann Hughey, Gregory Mott.
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