SANAA: Influential Yemeni tribal leaders yesterday announced the creation of a coalition to bolster six months of popular protests to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
“Ali Abdullah Saleh will not rule us as long as I am alive,” Sheikh Sadiq Al Ahmar, the powerful head of the Hashid tribe, said after being appointed head of the new coalition, a correspondent reported.
The so-called “Alliance of Yemeni Tribes” was revealed during a ceremony at the headquarters of the First Armoured Division whose leader, dissident General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmad, joined the protest movement in March.
The coalition pledged “to protect and defend... the popular and peaceful revolution” of youths who since January have been holding sit-ins or protesting across Yemen against Saleh’s rule, a statement said.
“Any aggression or threat against the (protest) venues... will be considered an attack against the tribes,” it added.
Saleh belongs to the Hashid tribe which was a steadfast backer of the regime until it broke ranks with him to join the protest movement in March.
The veteran Yemeni leader has been in hospital in Saudi Arabia since early June for a series of operations on wounds suffered in a bomb attack on his presidential palace.