- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

SANAA, Yemen, March 25 (UPI) — Yemen renewed Tuesday its rejection of the U.S-led war against Iraq which it described as "an unjustified aggression."

The council of ministers issued a statement foloowing its regular meeting Tuesday asking that the U.N. Security Council take action to "immediately stop the aggression and ensure Iraq's security, unity and territorial integrity."

The official Yemeni stance came hot on the heels of criticism made by Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan against Arab countries which he blasted as "traitors and oppressors, banning their peoples from expressing their anger against the war."

Four Yemenis were killed last week in anti-war protests that swept the capital, Sanaa, while a number were arrested. They were only released on Monday.

Meanwhile, thousands of angry Mauritanians renewed protests in the capital Nouackchott on Tuesday against the U.S.-British war on Iraq.

An estimated 60,000 protesters fanned out in the streets shouting anti-war slogans and stepping on pictures of U.S. President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair before setting them ablaze.

"Bush and Blair are war criminals" and "long live free and victorious Iraq", the crowd chanted as they marched on the U.N. headquarters carrying a coffin wrapped in the U.N. flag. The symbolic move indicated that the U.S. and Britain signed the death warrant of the international organization by acting unilaterally against Iraq.

The demonstrators were banned by internal security forces from approaching the embassies of the coalition in addition to the embassies of Kuwait and Israel.

The protesters called in a statement for the immediate halt of the war and criticized the Arab League's incapacity to "defend Arab countries against foreign aggression."

They also asked Arab countries to close water passageways to U.S. and British warships heading for the Gulf to take part in military operations against Iraq.

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