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Johnny-come-lately – Yemen’s opposition takes to the streets

March 2, 2011

Hani Mohammed / AP

A crowd of students, shop-owners, tribesmen, unemployed graduates, human-rights activists, lawyers, and school children who are camped out in front of Sana’a university calling for President Saleh to go were today joined by some newcomers…

After sitting on the fence for a while, Yemen’s opposition parties, the JMP,  decided they’d had enough of bartering with the president’s ruling party and arrived in force to pledge their support to the mishmash of tent-dwelling, qat-chewing, face-painting, protesters gathered in their thousands at the university.

The big shots in the JMP coalition are the Islamic Islah (Reform) party and they did not hesitate in making their presence felt today. Abdul Zindani, the charismatic if slightly barmy (he believes he’s discovered a herbal cure for AIDS) leader of the Islah party delivered a fiery, and lengthy, sermon to the university crowd this afternoon. His calls for an ‘Islamic State in Yemen‘ left a bitter taste in the mouths of many, especially the students who are worried that their grass-roots movement is being hijacked by power-hungry politicians..

You can read more about this here in an article I wrote today for the Global Post.

And here’s a live audio report I did for the guardian at outside the university this afternoon.

For those of you who aren’t big readers here’s a picture of a Yemeni protester looking like a hipster by accident (I think).

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