Conflict & Justice

Schools out in Yemen


University students have closed down their campus in the capital Sanaa under the slogan: "“No education and no study until the president is ousted!”



As the uprising in Yemen has ratcheted up a gear and battles between forces loyal to the government and opponents of Yemen's regime rage on the streets of the capital, killing scores of people, students have closed down Sanaa University and are boycotting their lessons.

Protesting at the start of the new academic year, students have staged demonstrations inside campus over the past three days and put chains across the doors of many faculties leaving classrooms and corridors silent.

“We are youth demanding change and will not allow the government to use education as an excuse to end our revolution,” Abdul Nasser Wael, 22, a student at Sanaa University and a youth protester told GlobalPost.

Read GlobalPost: Is Violence Pushing Yemen to the Brink?

In a statement, the protesting students said the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh wanted to convince the world that the situation in Yemen is stable and that there is no revolution taking place. “This is untrue and the regime continues the collective punishment of the Yemeni people,” the statement said.

“Our mission as youth is clear: We seek democracy, a civil nation, and freedom from the oppressive regime of Saleh,” said Wael.

Thousands of students gathered at Sanaa University chanting, “No education and no study until the president is ousted!” Others expressed very different views: “No politics, no politicians! Yes to education,” and, “We want to study!”

According to the pro-government weekly Yemen Observer some of the student protestors had threatened several students when they turned up for classes.

The paper described the students as “Islamists”, who were “supported by their militias and by the defected army soldiers” and said they had stormed the campus, forcing students out of lecture halls under the threat of violence and, in one instance, at gun point.

The accusation was one Wael said he and other pro-democracy students had become familiar with.

“The government claims that everyone that is against it are Islamists,” he said. “This crisis will never end until Saleh leaves power. He can save the country more crises if he steps down from power now. If not, we will continue protesting, even if it takes years.”