SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni rights activist vowed on Monday to continue her struggle against Yemen’s long-serving president, hours after being released following protests in the capital of the impoverished Arab state.
Inspired by the recent ouster of Tunisia’s long-time ruler, Tawakul Karman, a journalist and member of the Islamist party Islah, had called for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down and led rallies at Sanaa University last week. She was detained Sunday.
“We will continue this struggle and the Jasmine Revolution until the removal of this corrupt system that looted the wealth of the Yemenis,” Karman told hundreds of protesters demanding the release of other detainees.
Karman was freed on a guarantee from her family, a security official said.
Abdulrahman Barman, Karman’s lawyer and a human rights activist, said in a statement that prosecutors had said they would release other protesters held at the same time as Karman after questioning.
Sunday, 18 opposition activists were arrested along with Karman and one demonstrator was shot dead by police in the southern port city of Aden.
Saleh’s cash-strapped government is not only plagued by rebellions in the north and south, but also by a resurgent al Qaeda wing. He has ruled Yemen for over three decades.
The security official said Karman’s family had guaranteed that she would not violate Yemeni laws again. Karman is also a member of the activist group Women Journalists Without Chains.
The overthrow of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali shocked the Arab world and shattered the image that the region’s army-backed rulers were immune to popular discontent.
In an apparent move to calm discontent, Saleh announced plans to raise salaries of state employees and the military by $47 to $234 a month — a significant bonus for poorly paid soldiers and civil servants in the poorest Arab country.
Reporting by Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Martina Fuchs; editing by Mark Heinrich