The State Department Tells Americans In Yemen: Stay Indoors!

yemen salehProtesters burn a poster of President Saleh

Photo: ap

THE LATEST: The US State Department has sent this message to Americans in Yemen:Due to continued political instability and uncertainty in Sana’a and the rest of Yemen, the U.S. Embassy urges all U.S. citizens in Yemen to remain indoors this evening, Monday, March 21, 2011. The Embassy will provide additional information as it becomes available.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite the Travel Warning should make their own contingency plans, enroll their presence in Yemen through the Department of State’s Smart traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) and provide their emergency or next-of-kin contact information. The Department of State has authorised the voluntary departure from Yemen of the Embassy’s non-emergency personnel.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Dhahr Himyar Zone, Sheraton Hotel District, P.O. Box 22347. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (967) (1) 755-2000, extension 2153 or 2266. The fax number is (967) (1) 303-175. Email contact is available at [email protected] The after-hours emergency numbers are(967) (1) 755-2000 (press zero for extension) and (967) 733-213-509. Current information on travel and security in Yemen may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada, or from elsewhere at 1-202-501-4444. In addition to the Travel Warning for Yemen, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific

There have been dozens of major defections today, including the most powerful military officer, who controls 60 per cent of the army.

But President Saleh is still defiant: “We’re still here… the great majority of the Yemeni people are with security, stability and constitutional law. […]¬†Those who are calling for chaos, violence, hate and sabotage are only a tiny minority” (via Al Jazeera). defence Ministry Mohammad Nasser Aliis says the army would defend Saleh against any “coup against democracy.”

France’s foreign ministry has said that Saleh’s departure is is unavoidable, according to AJ. So far Washington is sticking with its ally.

ali mohsenMaj. Gen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar

EARLIER: Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar said today his soldiers would protect the protesters. Several other generals and diplomats have announced their resignation.Ali Mohsen is the half brother of President Saleh and is described by commentators on Al Jazeera as the most influential army officer. Ali Mohsen controls 60% of the military.

Tanks and army vehicles are protecting the presidential palace, according to AJ. Other troops and vehicles are guarding the protesters in the capital.

Saleh fired his entire government yesterday as a concession to the protesters. But he’s still trying to hold on.

Later in the day, President Saleh’s son-in-law and head of the Yemen Oil Company Omar Al Arhabi¬† resigned, and Yemen’s top business family, Hayel Saeed Group, announced support for the revolution.

Yemen’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammed Ali al-Ahwal also announced his support for the protest movement.

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