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Yemen’s Revolution: Timeline 2011

Since the start of Yemen’s insurrection against the 33 year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, hundreds have been killed and abducted, and thousands injured. Below is a timeline from the start of the uprisings in January, feel free to comment if you see I am missing anything:


2 February 2011: Thousands of Yemeni opposition supporters take to the streets of Sana’a, Aden and Taiz on the “First Day of Rage”, protesting against the government’s constitutional amendment allowing Saleh to run for another term. In a speech, Saleh promises not to run for president again or hand power to his son Ahmad, the Republican Guards’ commander. Saleh urges dialogue and engagement in “a national unity government”.

3 February: Tens of thousands of protesters in Sana’a on “Second Day of Rage” decry government corruption, and Saleh’s control of power and resources. Saleh again calls for dialogue with the opposition.

10 February: Thousands of Southern Movement (SM) supporters march in several parts of the south in protest at a military siege imposed by the government. They demand the release of all political prisoners detained for their involvement in SM, which is accused by the government of promoting secession.

11 February: Thousands of SM supporters staged protests in the southern cities of Aden, Abyan, Dhalea and Shabwa demanding Saleh leave power. Local NGO Yemen Human Rights Observatory (YHRO) says the government arrested at least 10 protesters. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns.

12 February: Thousands in Sana’a celebrate Mubarak’s downfall, call for Saleh’s ouster, but are confronted by pro-Saleh demonstrators in al-Tahrir Square. Thousands of university students head towards Egyptian embassy calling for an end to Saleh’s rule; two are injured after being attacked by Saleh supporters with daggers and sticks.

13 February: Tens of thousands rally in front of Sana’a University as well as in Liberty Square in Taiz. They are confronted by pro-government demonstrators in both cities. Government security forces arrest 120 protesters in Taiz, according to Yasser al-Maqtari, a human rights activist from Taiz.

15 February: Around 2,000 Saleh supporters, backed by undercover police, attack over 3,000 student protesters in front of Sana’a University, using sticks and electric batons, Khalid al-Ansi, executive director of the National Organization for Defending Human Rights and Freedoms (a local NGO know as HOOD), tells IRIN.

16 February: Around 500 protesters in Aden demand Saleh’s ouster. Two protesters killed in Sana’a.

17 February: At least 25 injured in clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in front of Sana’a University.

18 February: Four killed, 11 injured when the authorities attempt to disperse thousands of protesters in Aden in a demonstration called “Friday of Start”. A local council building, police station and several police vehicles are set ablaze, Mohammed Salim, a riot police officer, tells IRIN from Aden. At least three killed and another 87 injured when a grenade is thrown at tens of thousands of protesters in Taiz’s Liberty Square. Ten injured in another protest staged in the southern city of Mukalla.

19 February: One protester killed and another 15 injured in clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in front of Sana’a University. Another protester killed in Aden.

21 February: The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), an opposition coalition, and Houthi followers in the north declare their support for the young protesters demanding Saleh’s ouster. Tens of thousands take to streets of Sa’dah, demanding same.

22 February: At least five students injured in clashes with Saleh supporters in front of Sana’a University.

23 February: Ten MPs resign from ruling General People’s Congress in protest at the government’s crackdown on protesters. Two protesters killed and 23 injured in Sana’a.

25 February: Hundreds of thousands of protesters stream onto the streets of Sana’a, Taiz, Ibb, Amran, Sa’dah, Aden, Dhalea, Mukalla, Lahj, Shabwa, Abyan, Dhamar, Marib, al-Jauf and Hodeida on the “Friday of Immovability”. At least 7 killed and dozens of others injured in Aden, according to HOOD.

26 February: Senior sheikhs from Yemen’s main tribes (Hashid and Bakil) declare their support for the protesters. “Saleh and his regime must leave now,” said Sheikh Fasail al-Dheli from the Hashid tribe. “How is it possible for a regime to reform things in two years after it failed to do so in more than three decades?” he asked.

27 February: Eight killed, 36 injured in Aden protests, raising death toll since 2 February to 26, according to YHRO.


1 March: Hundreds of thousands rally in most main cities to express solidarity with the families of protesters killed in Aden in a day named “Tuesday of Rage”. “Ending Saleh’s rule is the only option for us. We will not leave this place until Saleh steps down,” former MP Fuad Dihaba tells IRIN.

4 March: Two killed, six injured when army attacks anti-government protest in war-torn Harf Sufyan District, Amran Governorate.

6 March: Some 25 protesters injured in Ibb after being attacked by ruling party supporters.

8 March: Some 70-80 students injured and one killed after government troops fire at protesters in front of Sana’a University. “The troops used a toxic gas against the protesters,” said Hussein al-Shawjali, a volunteer neurologist at a mobile clinic providing medical services to protesters at the university. “Dozens are comatose or suffering spasms… Their lives are at high risk as we don’t have information about this toxic gas to prescribe the right serum for the victims,” al-Shawjali tells IRIN the following day. Sixty injured (20 of them police) in clashes between prison inmates and police in Sana’a central prison.

10 March: Saleh goes on TV to announce plans to change the constitution to move to a parliamentary system.


5 April: Three killed and more than 400 injured in renewed clashes between thousands of protesters and police in Sana’a and Taiz.

6 April: Tens of thousands of demonstrators besiege Taiz Governorate’s administrative HQ in protest against the firing of live rounds at them the previous day. Fifteen activists arrested in Aden following clashes with the police.

8 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets in about 15 of Yemen’s 21 governorates on a day the protesters call “Friday of Determination”.

10 April: Four killed, 43 injured in clashes between protesters and riot police in Taiz. Some 500 protesters taken ill after inhaling tear gas.

11 April: Saleh announces his acceptance of a 30-day exit plan offered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. The plan anticipates Saleh handing power to his vice-president in exchange for giving him and his family immunity from prosecution.

12 April: Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets of main cities to protest against the GCC proposals.

13 April: Five soldiers killed, four injured in clashes between the First Armoured Division, which defected from Yemen’s army, and government troops. Two protesters killed in Aden.

15 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters go onto the streets in about 17 governorates on what they call “Friday of Tolerance”. Some 13 protesters injured in Taiz.

17 April: GCC foreign ministers meet Yemeni opposition in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Two protesters killed, 45 others injured in Sana’a. “Ambulances taking injured protesters were attacked by pro-government thugs and their staff injured,” Mohammed al-Qubati, deputy manager of the field hospital at the Sana’a University protest site, told IRIN.

21 April: Fifteen people, including 13 soldiers, killed in clashes between a contingent of the Republican Guards, led by Saleh’s eldest son Ahmad, and armed tribesmen in the southern governorate of Lahj. “The clashes erupted after tribesmen moved to drive a Republican Guard contingent from a strategic position in their area,” Mohammed al-Khalidi, a tribal sheikh, told IRIN from Lahj Governorate.

22 April: Hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets of main cities on what they call “Last Chance Friday”. The president’s supporters rally in the Sabeen area of Sana’a. Ten Republican Guards killed in an ambush by armed tribesmen in Marib Governorate.

27 April: At least seven killed and more than 100 injured in clashes between protesters and government supporters as the former advanced towards the state TV building in Sana’a.

29 April: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in 17 of Yemen’s 21 governorates on what they call the “Friday of Loyalty with Martyrs”. Saleh dismisses Attorney-General Abdullah al-Ulifi for demanding there be an investigation into the former’s relatives who lead the Republican Guards, Presidential Guards and central security forces, over the killing of 52 protesters on 18 March.


4 May: Tens of thousands of people in Sana’a, Taiz, Hodeidah, Ibb, Dhamar and other cities demonstrate against the government’s bombing of Yafea District, Lahj Governorate. The government accuses the opposition of cutting off the tongue of a poet loyal to Saleh.

5 May: Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Sana’a, Aden, Taiz and Ibb to press Saleh to step down. Protesters announce that 7 and 11 May are to be days of civil disobedience.

6 May: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in almost all Yemeni governorates on what they call “Friday of Loyalty with People of the South” who were bombed from the air. Speaking to his supporters in Saneen area, Saleh vows to crack down on what he called “opposition-backed bandits” who hit oil pipelines and a power plant in Marib Governorate.

8 May: Three protesters killed, 20 injured in clashes with riot police in Taiz and Hodeidah governorates.

9 May: “Revolution youth” close government offices in Ibb, Taiz and Hodeidah. Four killed, more than 100 injured in Taiz after government troops try to disperse protesters besieging government offices in the city.

10 May: Demonstrators march out of Tagheer ‘Change’ Square demanding President Saleh’s resignation.

11 May: Saleh security forces dress in Ali Mohsen’s uniforms to trap protestors leaving twelve killed, more than 150 injured as thousands of protesters advance towards the Council of Ministers’ building in Sana’a. Another eight killed in Taiz, Hodeidah and Ibb.

13 May: Three protesters killed by police in Ibb city as hundreds of thousands take to streets in almost all Yemeni governorates on what they call “Friday of Decisiveness”. Speaking to his supporters rallying in the Sabeen area on what they called “Friday of Unity”, Saleh says: “We will encounter defiance with stronger defiance.” He urges loyalists to align with the army and security forces in defending government institutions. Clashes between the First Armoured Division and Republican Guards in Ban Matar District, 40km west of Sana’a, leaving three soldiers dead.

14 May: Five Republican Guard soldiers killed in an ambush by tribesmen in Marib Governorate, 180km east of Sana’a. Six members of the government security forces killed in Rada city, Beida Governorate, 150km southeast of Sana’a when armed tribesmen attack a security checkpoint at the city’s eastern entrance.

18 May: President Saleh scheduled to sign GCC deal. Saleh refuses to sign the deal hours before scheduled time. Candle Light Vigil held at Tagheer ‘Change’ Square in Sana’a for all those abducted and unlawfully detained by the regime.

21 May: President Saleh celebrates national holiday Unity Day with a Military Parade and Speech. JMP members sign deal and President Saleh’s signing is rescheduled for Sunday May 22nd.

22 May: Day starts with celebrations for Unity Day all over Yemen and Sana’a. Demonstrators celebrate in change square as President Saleh celebrates on Police Street. President Saleh scheduled to sign GCC deal. Saleh refuses to sign the deal hours before scheduled time demanding that the opposition members resign the plan in his palace. Sana’a is under siege by Saleh military, thugs and supporters. Streets are blocked and chaos hits the streets. US ambassador at the same time was trapped in the UAE embassy as Saleh’s military and thugs surrounded the perimeter carrying weapons. UAE Foreign Ministry sends a message to the Yemeni government warning to protect embassy staff, diplomats and ambassador or else the government would be held responsible. By the end of the day, US ambassador was airlifted out of the embassy for further precaution. Gunshots heard all over Sana’a. Supporters blocking all roads with batons argue they won’t leave until they are reassured Saleh won’t sign the deal. Many believed that this was an act ordered by the president. Saleh later announced that he would not sign the GCC deal in respect for all those who came out and demonstrated on the streets in support of him.

List of Sources:
Human Rights Information & Training Center: http://www.hritc.net
Women Journalists Without Chains: http://www.womenpress.net
Yemen Observatory for Human Rights: http://www.yohr.org
Hood Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms: http://www.hoodonline.org



2 responses

  1. yasmin

    the tents did not start in January, albeit the protests and demonstrations in and out of the university did. I was at the university in mid february and there were no tents yet. The original plan was to go to Tahrir square, the university was chosen as an alternative location after pro-saleh people occupied Tahrir.

    May 23, 2011 at 9:01 am

  2. Pingback: Weekly Roundup 5/28 | Mideast Reports

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