Yemen's economy sets it apart from other 'Arab Spring' countries

Thousands of anti-regime protesters pray in the southern Yemeni city of Ibb during a mass protest on September 16, 2011.

Steve Chiotakis: In Yemen today, security forces shot and killed at least four dozen protestors. Large crowds took to the streets demanding the ouster of the country's president. Yemen is yet another Arab country whose people seek change, but the economics there are very different from its neighbors.

Hakim Almasmari is editor of the English newspaper The Yemen Post and he's with us now from the capital of Sana'a. Hi Hakim.

Hakim Almasmari: Hello

Chiotakis: What are you seeing? Are you seeing any evidence of protestor casualties there in Sana'a?

Almasmari: Protestors have been attacked over the last 28 hours here in Sana'a as they were marching in the streets. Government forces without stopping, or without any worries, shot directly at protestors' heads, killing at least 50 from what our sources have confirmed, over the last 24-30 hours.

Chiotakis: What are they protesting?

Almasmari: The protesters are demanding that the President Saleh's regime is ousted from power. President Saleh has been in power for 33 years, and they are demanding that he leave due to corruption cases, and the killing of at least 2,000 protestors in Yemen over the last seven months.

Chiotakis: How is the economy in Yemen at the moment? Are poeple being affected by these protests?

Almasmari: Before the protests even started, Yemen had a very, very fragile economy. Right now, it's completely dead. The people are living on basically water and bread. We have three million jobs lost this year alone. It's just crazy how these people are living under this current situation.

Chiotakis: You know when I think of Yemen -- obviously it's in the Middle East -- I'm thinking it's an economy dependent upon oil. Is it?

Almasmari: Yemen is mostly dependent on international support. Yes, Yemen has oil, Yemen has international seashores, a fishing industry and so on. But Yemen being a corrupt nation, it has very, very little to live on. That is why it needs international support that it has been getting over the last 15 years to ensure that the economy did not collapse.

Chiotakis: Hakim Almasmari is editor of The Yemen Post. Hakim, thank you.

Almasmari: You're welcome.

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