SANAA, June 11 Hundreds of protesters gathered
outside the Yemeni president's house in the capital Sanaa on
Wednesday to call for the fall of the government, angry at a
city-wide power cut about to enter its third day and severe
The blackout in the capital, widely blamed on the sabotage
of oil pipelines by armed tribesmen with grievances against the
government, is among the longest dark spells in almost three
years of patchy electricity supply since Arab Spring protests
unseated Yemen's former president in 2011.
The pipeline attacks have deprived the state of revenue to
buy fuel products, increasing the cost of food in the Arab
world's poorest country.
"Leave us, leave us, down with the corrupt leader!" angry
residents chanted in front of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's
"This failure by the government has turned our lives into
hell: no electricity, no gasoline or water. They have to leave
us right away," said protester Mohamed Sharaf.
Sanaa's two million residents have been forced to light
their homes with candles or private generators, fuel for which
is increasingly expensive.
Hundreds of vehicles clogging gas stations have paralyzed
traffic, causing the authorities to shut down streets including
one that connects Hadi's private home with the presidential
A revolt by Shi'ite militants in the North, secessionist
unrest in the South and al-Qaeda militancy across the country
has sapped Yemen's economy, as oil and water resources decline.
Security forces have struggled to face down the insurgents
or to prevent the attacks on oil and electricity facilities.
Official news agency Saba reported that tribesmen had
attacked power lines in the eastern province of Marib on
Tuesday, leading to the blackouts in Sanaa and other areas.
In a separate incident, the army said it foiled an attempt
to blow up a power station in the southern province of Shabwa
with two explosives-laden cars on Wednesday, according to Saba.
Wealthy Gulf neighbors and the West fear for the stability
of Yemen, which shares a long border with the world's top oil
exporter, Saudi Arabia.
The United States has stepped up its support for its
government and military, at the same time it has repeatedly
launched deadly drone strikes on suspected al-Qaeda militants
(Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari, Writing by Amena Bakr, Editing
by Noah Browning and Alexandra Hudson)