Balloons Carry Yemen’s Protest Message: Leave, Ali
May 6, 2011
Thousands of Yemenis released balloons that drifted over the presidential palace with the painted words “Leave, Ali.” The president has refused to end his 32 years of power despite the pressure imposed by street demonstrators for the past three months and the pressure of neighboring Arab nations who are fearful that Yemen’s growing instability may spill into their wealthy oil-producing lands.
A mediation plan put forth by six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council called for Saleh to step down within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution; the national unity government would run the country until elections were held. However, the plan looked close to success a week ago but failed when the president balked just days before the signing ceremony.