An afternoon at Change Square
The combination of recent events in Libya and Syria, an absentee president and a lack of foreign journalists has meant that Yemen has slipped off the radar and back into the shadows. Yemen’s revolt seemed to have reached a crescendo on 3 June when President Saleh was airlifted to Riyadh to be treated for shrapnel wounds after a booby-trap explosion ripped through the mosque of his fortified compound. But the story was far from over. Instead of stepping down Saleh clung to power from his hospital bed, opting to rule the country by proxy through his pariah-like family until he was well enough to return.
Yemen’s protesters meanwhile, dismayed by their President’s stalwart defiance, have stuck to the streets, refusing to budge until their original demand (the fall of the regime) is met. Their iconic slogan (heard across large parts of the Arab World this year) ‘Al Sha’ab yureed eskaat al nazam!’ [The people want the regime to fall!] has now been adapted to ‘Al Sha’ab yureed bina’ Yemen jadid!’ [The people want to build a new Yemen!]. Meanwhile the showdown in Libya seems to have blown new life into Change Square, the sprawling shanty town by Sana’a University whose tent-filled streets stretch for miles into the capital. It’s inhabitants have recently vowed to march every Sunday, Tuesday and Friday to help ‘get their revolution back on track.’ As scheduled, tens of thousands marched the streets of Sana’a this Tuesday. I filmed them. Here’s what it looked like.
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