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Yemeni students call for more opportunities at protest

From Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN
People protest at anti-government demonstrations on February 3. The event sparked a student protest at Sanaa University on Thursday.
People protest at anti-government demonstrations on February 3. The event sparked a student protest at Sanaa University on Thursday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Students held a protest in front of Sanaa University Thursday
  • It was at the same site as large anti-government protests a week before
  • Students say they are looking for more opportunities in their country

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Students protested Thursday at the site of a massive anti-government demonstration a week ago, calling for more opportunities for young people.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the gates of Sanaa University for the student-led demonstration. Many Facebook groups called for Thursday's protest.

In addition to students, some human rights activists attended the protest. Local residents also turned out to express solidarity with the message to the government that they must do more to turn around the economic situation in Yemen and for those in power to work on behalf of the Yemeni people.

"I'm 27 years old, (and I) have nothing, nothing for the future," a protester named Yaser said. "I'm single, frustrated in this country. ...I don't know what exactly the future will be with this bad situation."

I'm single, frustrated in this country. ...I don't know what exactly the future will be with this bad situation.
--Student protester
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Yaser said he holds 15 different certificates from Sanaa University, including one that attests to his English-speaking skills, but still is unable to find a job. He is a graduate of the school's history department.

A current student studying business management, Alaa, held up a sign that simply said, "Facebook." He's part of a Facebook group that started up a week ago that calls for change and mobilizes protests. There are several such online groups.

"My message here today is to show the people that young people in Yemen are civilized in a way to prove to the world that we want change peacefully. We represent ourselves, we don't represent any political parties," Alaa said. "We gathered on Facebook. I believe Facebook is playing a huge role in all changes happening now in the Arab region."

Youth in Yemen represent a large slice of the population and the government should pay heed to them, he said.

"We represent youth -- we have different demands. Some people want their government to resign, some people don't, some people just want change. But we're all here to represent the youth in a civilized way, to demand in our way, and to encourage other people who are afraid to demonstrate and ask for their rights who also believe in change -- to go out and demonstrate with us as well," he said.

The demonstration was peaceful, and protesters carrying trash bags even began cleaning up as the crowd dispersed.

Thursday's student protest took place at the site of large anti-government and pro-government protests that attracted tens of thousands of people last week. Those protests were organized by political parties.

 
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