By Maram Alabassi
On 12 February, one day after the two-year anniversary of Yemen’s Youth Revolution, soldiers from the Central Security Forces physically assaulted injured activists of Yemen’s uprising outside the Cabinet building, sending many youth to the hospital once again. Member of Parliament and Judge Ahmed Saif Hashed was also injured in the attack. Hashed had been standing among injured youth protesters who had been staging a sit-in as part of efforts to receive much-needed medical procedures abroad. Soldiers beat demonstrators with batons and fired tear-gas at the activists.
Jalal Al-Bakri, a participant in the injured protesters’ demonstration, said, “The attack which was directed against the injured and the judge, Ahmed Saif Hashed, amounts to proof that the Interior Ministry was not sufficiently competent to handle such responsibilities.”
Describing the situation he witnessed, Al-Bakri said, “The security forces arrived with intentions to beat and fire tears gas at those participating in the sit-in, and they attempted to provoke them in order to justify the aggressive attack they were about to carry out,” said Al-Bakri.
Activist and sit-in participant Essam Al-Harthi was beaten in the attack, but was eager to speak not about himself, but rather about the violence which had been inflicted upon Judge Hashed.
“They attacked Hashed directly,” he said. “This government lost its credibility after what happened to Judge Hashed and to those already-injured revolutionaries.”
Sadeq Al-Sanaoi, who sustained a serious injury to his spine on 22 November 2011, said he was among those who were beaten by the soldiers.
“Yesterday, Basindowa made a statement against us, the injured, in his last speech, so what happened today was a logical next step,” said Alsanaoi.
A total of 13 individuals were reportedly left injured after being struck by batons and fired upon with tears gas. Hashed was badly injured and taken to Al-Jumhoori Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
From the site of the violence, Youth protester Fathey Al-Bokari said, “I’ve been here for 16 days, and I blame the entire government for this assault; I also blame Tawakul [Karman] for neglecting the injured revolutionaries who gave her so much support.”
While a number of government institutions and political parties condemned the aggressive and irresponsible attack on Judge Hashed and the wounded revolutionaries, there has been a noticeable reluctance to place responsibility on any particular individuals.
“To beat wounded people, who are not fully capable of defending themselves…this puts shame on the entire government,” said Al-Bokari.
Dalal Al-Ba’adani said that after knocking him to the ground, some of the soldiers proceeded kick Judge Hashed’s head. “It reminded me of an attack made against myself,” she said, with her eyes full of tears. “I have a spinal injury and if I am not treated soon, I will not be able to walk again.”
Many protesters have claimed that injured Islah Party members have had a much easier time when it comes to being provided with medical treatment abroad.
“I’ve been the first to support the injured, and I was beaten many times earlier because I was fighting for the injured revolutionaries. But these days, all that matters are your political views.” Who said this?
Minibuses carrying protesters from Taiz arrived in the late afternoon on the same day when the attack took place.
Prominent female activist Bushra Al-Maqtari told the National Yemen, “We want to investigate some of institutions’ procedures, including the Wafa Foundation and others.”
Al-Maqtari added that she hoped the days’ events could contribute to the sparking of another revolution.
Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Jawhara Hammoud, Minister of Education Abdul-Razzaq Al-Ashwal and Public Health and Population Minister Ahmad Qasem Al-Ansi attended a Ministerial Committee press conference to address the day’s events.
All of the ministers in attendance said they were in agreement that what happened to Hashed and the wounded protesters was unacceptable.
Minister Al-Ansi stated that the provision of medical procedures and treatment had been delayed for various reasons, before adding that time was needed to settle the National Budget for 2013.
For his part, the Health Minister stated that, “All of the injured will be treated – some locally, some abroad.”