Hundreds of Yemeni Youth protesters and activists answered this Thursday, Tawakkul Karman’s calls to move against TOTAL, the French-based oil company, on account it has exploited Yemen’s natural resources.
Last week, Yemen’s very own 2011 Nobel Peace prize laureate, Karman issued a statement in which she called on all her supporters to stand up against injustice and corruption by calling for the revocation of TOTAL’s LNG contract with Yemen.
The statement read, “The Council of the Peaceful Revolutionary Youth calls for a mass rally next Thursday to march to the President's residence to demand revocation of the LNG sale agreements concluded with the French company TOTAL, the Korean company Cogas and French GDF Suez after it became clear such agreements were reached in violation of the laws and inflicted damage to public interests.”
Back in 2005 then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed an agreement with French TOTAL and GDF Suez whereby Yemen would sell its Liquefied Natural Gas at a fraction of its market price for a period of 20 years.
The deal is said to have cost Yemen several billion dollars in unrealised revenues.
TOTAL which is by far Yemen’s biggest foreign investors, has seen its reputation suffer since such deal was made public, even more so as the company has often been rumoured to engage in illegal practices, such as corruption.
Angered by TOTAL’s refusal to readdress its contract with Yemen by aligning itself with market prices, Yemenis have called on President Hadi to renege all agreement with the French.
"Total out! Our gas is ours," chanted demonstrators. "From the north to the south of the country, we will recover our stolen gas," They all called in unison.
But Karman wants to take things one step further. She wants TOTAL and all those companies and individuals which benefited from 2005 LNG agreement to return Yemen’s stolen funds and stand trial in an court of law.
“The rally will also call for abolishing the PSA with TOTAL and the YLNG and other corrupted companies. This is coupled with demanding that proper action is taken to recover the funds and proceeds of corruption generated as a result of the LNG agreement, interrogate those involved and hold them accountable before courts,” she said last week in a statement published by her office.