Saturday, September 24, 2011

cairo's yemenis #SupportYemen

This Saturday, dozens of Yemenis - medic and engineering students, mothers, fathers, children, and even a former major in the Yemeni military - protested in silence outside the Arab League headquarters in Cairo against the ongoing killing of peaceful protesters in Yemen. As Saturday is a day off in Egypt, there was nobody inside the Arab League offices, but the press turned up to cover the event. Similar protests were held at the same time around the world, notably in Dearborn, London, Paris and Amman.

In Sana'a, by midday on the second day of president Saleh's return to Yemen, the media centre at Change Square had reported 40 more deaths.

On the railings outside the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo on Saturday, Yemenis hang portraits of dozens of protesters killed during the anti-government protests in Yemen.

Those who turn up around midday politely greet everyone, then tie a piece of red, white, and black ribbon around their heads, and line up along the side of the pavement to have their mouths taped up for the silent demonstration.

"What evil... Our land is a land of challenges... " says this poster, in Yemeni dialect. The international community's silence will help Saleh kill the people, human rights activist Liza was quoted as saying in al-Masdar online.

"Saleh's regime is bloody and terrorist." Yemeni high school graduate and active tweeter @AbdulazizSakkaf said that joining the protest was the least that he could do.

Over a dozen Yemeni women turned up at the protest. Naguiba, who has lived in Cairo with her two daughters and daughter-in-law since March, said that she had come out to support democracy. "I refuse the war in Sana'a," she said. "I refuse Ali Abdallah Saleh to do this."

Behind the protesters, Yemeni youth activist Redhwan dictates a sentence to law graduate Hani, as the latter dashes off his news about the #SupportYemen protest on his laptop, before sending it off to news websites in Yemen.

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