"Our movement is more hopeful and organised than ever."
Rafat Al-Akhali lives in Sanaa and is participating in the protests in Change Square. He is a member of the Civic Coalition of Revolutionary Youth
, an umbrella group of youth opposition movements.
Every time people die, it only galvanizes protesters even more. There was a huge surge in demonstrations after the March 18 shootings, and after the clashes at Change Square yesterday, the protesters actually gained a couple of blocks. We feel safe on Change Square, mainly because since March 21, part of the army that is loyal to Ali Mohsen [a prominent general who defected after the sniper shootings] has been protecting us there.
"We're organising a civil disobedience campaign throughout the country."
I have the impression that the movement has come a long way from its beginnings, when a handful of students, encouraged by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, held spontaneous protests. Today, the protesters have grouped into five or six umbrella coalitions, counting at least 50,000 members. On Saturday, we held a workshop to group all of our demands together. We agree on 90% of our demands, the core one being immediate regime change. There are some minor divergences, but I think we can work them out. Right now, we’re focusing on organising a civil disobedience campaign throughout the country, encouraging shops, schools and government offices to close for part of the day as a sign of protest.
We are very encouraged by the change of tone from the US and the EU; Globally, I’d say that our movement is more hopeful and organised than ever, and absolutely determined not to give in until Saleh resigns.”
Protests in Sanaa's Change square on Tuesday, March 5. In Yemen, men and women protest in seperate groups. Photos posted on the Facebook group 20,000,000 Yemeni.