By Oliver Holmes / Sana’a
The mood at the makeshift camp is almost festive if it were not for the angle — small tents encircle an obelisk that men climb to scream mantras against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the military leader who has been in power in Yemen for over three decades. People hand out food, sing and even spend their days dancing in this spot in front of the University of Sana’a in the capital. Numbering around 2,000, they are the true believers of the anti-regime cause, desperately trying to rally in bigger numbers, explaining their relatively small numbers (compared to the massive turn-outs in Egypt) by saying that their fellow citizens are staying away due to a mixture of apathy and fear.
Fear is just up the road, almost out of sight but never out of mind. There, the baltegeya, the thugs, are waiting, armed with guns, rocks, shards of concrete and wooden batons.(See the woman leading Yemen’s protests.)