Our gas is ours! Yemen protests to scrap ‘corrupt’ gas deals with foreign firms
SANAA - Several hundred protesting Yemeni youths demanded Thursday that the government scrap "corrupt" gas deals with foreign firms, including France's Total, which they claim are at vastly lower rates than market prices.
"Total out! Our gas is ours," chanted the demonstrators, who had gathered outside the Sanaa residence of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.
"From the north to the south of the country, we will recover our stolen gas," they also chanted.
They demanded that Hadi annul agreements signed in 2005 under former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, which they claim were "overshadowed" by bribery and unreasonable commissions.
Total, South Korea's Korea Gas Gorp and France's GDF Suez 20-year deals to export liquefied natural gas.
Total holds a 39.6 percent equity stake in Yemen LNG, which was formed in 2005 and began exporting four years later.
"Hadi, scrapping the gas deal would be your biggest achievement," protesters chanted.
Liquefied natural gas "is sold for $2 dollars while (world) prices are over $10," they also shouted.
A statement released by organisers LNG is sold "at 10 percent of its market price."
It demanded that Hadi "issue a presidential decree scrapping the deals... and ordering a trial" for those responsible.
Yemeni Nobel Peace laureate Tawakkol Karman, a co-organiser, accused "Total of stealing Yemeni gas," urging French justice to "charge it with corruption."
The rally was called for by the Peaceful Revolutionary Youths committee, which was behind a year of protests in Sanaa against the rule of Saleh who agreed to step down after 33 years in power.