Friday, 1 April 2011

British nationals urged to flee Yemen amid protests

Anti-government demonstrators are set to face President Ali Abdullah Saleh's supporters in Yemen's capital Sana'a. Tens of thousands of people are taking to the streets as the country's political turmoil intensifies. Representatives of both sides have reportedly met and agreed to avoid confrontations, which have previously resulted fatalities.

According to a number of reports, anti-government protesters are moving towards the renamed "Change Square" near the Sana'a university, while supporters of the president are gathering in the city's Tahrir Square some 2km away.

Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for over 30 years, is under mounting pressure to step down immediately. Earlier in the month, in a bid to appease the brewing disconnect of the Yemeni people, he said he would step-down in 2012 but calls for his resignation have not subsided.

UK's Foreign Office has issued a statement urging British nationals to leave the ever-increasingly unstable Middle Eastern State immediately. The statement said: "Given the situation on the ground, it is highly unlikely that the British government will be able to evacuate British nationals or provide consular assistance in the event of a further breakdown of law and order and increased violent civil disorder. British nationals should therefore plan accordingly."

It also called on Saleh to take urgent steps to "build trust with the opposition and with the protesters…Without this trust, no agreement can be reached. The Yemeni people want to see their legitimate demands acknowledged and met and the UK fully supports them in this aspiration".

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Politics, The Press Association

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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