For the first time in the many months of Yemen's unresolved revolution, residents from Sana'a's Old City march to key government locations in Sana'a. 4th November 2011
Sana'a's ongoing political and humanitarian crisis saw a new twist on Friday as residents of Sana'a al-Qadima (Old Sana'a) took to the streets to both government and anti-government opposition forces. Yemen's youth movement was spared their antipathy, which was reserved for President Ali Abdullah Saleh, defected Major General Ali Mohsen, and the General People's Congress and Islah political parties.
A heavy military presence transformed the appearance of portions of Sana'a al-Qadima - itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site - as government security forces, including the highly-trained Republican Guard were present to dissuade the marchers from progressing. However, the marching residents persisted and picked up additional marchers as they progressed down al-Silah Street to the Central Bank, down Tahrir Street and to the Ministry of Defense Building.
Pro-government supporters at Tahrir Square hurled insults at the protesters as they passed, with many flourishing jambiyahs (traditional Yemeni daggers) and a handful rushing after the Old City residents as they marched further down Tahrir Street. The Old City residents stopped before the Ministry of Defense building and loudly voiced their displeasure with the current political and social climate in Sana'a.
During recent fighting between government security and tribal opposition forces, errant shells landed in the Old City, enraging the local populace. Generally assumed to be among Saleh's most ardent supporters, frustration has grown among Old City residents after many months of inadequate water supplies and scarce electricity. Witnesses present at different stages of the march said that three individuals photographing its procession were detained by government security personnel.
The marching Old City residents, referring to the current regime, Ali Mohsen and his defected First Armored Divison, and members of both the General People's Congress and Islah political parties, chanted "The people want to deport all of them" and "The people want to live...all of them are corrupt" as they progressed down Tahrir Street.