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Women without Borders website blocked in Yemen

Source: Women without Borders - Mon, 28 Mar 2011 16:46 GMT
Author: Women Without Borders//By Helen Victoria Thompson
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By Helen Victoria Thompson//Women Without Borders staff Protests continue in Sana'a Readers in Yemen informed that the Women without Borders website has been banned in Yemen. People trying to access the site are now confronted with a message claiming that the website carries pornography. Tensions are rising in Sana’a, as the weekend arrives and many more people flood onto the streets. Maha, our contact in Yemen, said that she heard pro-government supporters arriving in large numbers to join the melee in Sana’a this morning. “They were driving into Sana’a this morning, shouting in favour of Saleh,” said Maha, who lives just outside the capital city.   A march towards the presidential palace that had been planned by opposition parties did not take place this afternoon, as pro-government supporters flooded the streets near to the palace, making it impossible for anti-government protestors to pass. “People are afraid that things will turn violent and that they will be slaughtered,” said Maha. “With the extra people on the streets, the atmosphere is very tense.”   Soldiers have today been firing shots into the air to prevent clashes between the protesters and pro-government supporters. Maha believes that many of the government supporters have been paid by Saleh’s administration, and that the strength of support for government should not be overestimated based upon the number of supporters on the streets. Saleh appears to have been holding talks with his half-brother, who has defected to the opposition. These talks have apparently been unsuccessful. Maha believes that even if the opposition parties accepted Saleh’s offer to step down in a few months, protests would continue demanding his immediate resignation. Opposition parties are advocating for a transitional* council that should not include any members of Saleh’s team. The council would focus on achieving constitutional amendments, much along the Egyptian model. The question of Saleh’s succession is still wide open, with many losing faith in the loudest voices leading the revolution.   “Tawakkol Karman and Abdel Majeed, who have both been very vocal, are not in the streets every day leading the protests. They are not very visible on the ground, so people are beginning to ask what kind of leaders are these, if they leave the ordinary people to protest without them. They should be setting an example.”   Abdel Majeed al-Zindani is an Islamist leader who was a spiritual leader of the al-Islah party. He is, however, wanted by the USA as an Al-Qaeda leader. He is thought to be hiding outside of Sana’a in his home town.   Maha believes that Yemeni citizens would not tolerate any intervention in their revolution along the lines of NATO and the UN’s intervention in Libya. “Gaddafi is worse than Saleh. He was slaughtering his citizens. Civilians always end up being the victims so it is better that there is no intervention.”   However, Maha is skeptical about how long protests can realistically continue. Standards of daily life are slipping as the economy grinds to a halt. “We are running out of gas, and commodities such as food - like bread - are getting really expensive. There are also great restrictions on our mobility. Some people are fleeing to the countryside. The duration of these protests really depends on whether it turns violent, and how long people can handle the deteriorating standards of living.”   *Earlier report stated that the protestors are advocating for a “traditional” council. We would like to correct this error – the word used was “transitional”.

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