Crowds of happy people in the Yemeni capital Sanaa may be celebrating the fall of their president too soon, as the vice president announced today Ali Abdullah Saleh will return “soon” after medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.
His effigy now adorns biscuits past their sell-by date held up mockingly by demonstrators.
“We hope that the Gulf states will help convince Saleh not to return because if he does, it will be war here,” said one of the demonstrators.
The opposition backs the idea of a transitional government led by Vice President Abu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s acting leader. Negotiations for a transfer of power continue, but seven soldiers were killed in clashes late on Monday in the south.
The five major European powers all called for a peaceful handover, and this was echoed in America.
“We think an immediate transition is in best interests of the Yemeni people,” said Hillary Clinton during a visit by the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
Saleh appears to lack regional support for a return as well, and there are fears if he digs his heels in any longer the country will slump into civil war. Although civilians remain in power weapons are everywhere, and tension remains high.