Today was another bloody day in Yemen. Pro-democracy peaceful protesters in Taiz, Hodaida and Sana'a were attacked with live ammunition and tear gas.
After the first attack in Sana'a, a march was planned to protest against the violence. Men on the stage at the university called on their brothers to join the march, and told women they are "forbidden" from joining. Yes that was the exact word used: ممنوع خروج النساء.
I understand that given the circumstances, they are concerned about our safety, but it should be stated as an advice, not an order. We are adults, and we can decide for ourselves whether we would like to march or not. We do not need someone to tell us what to do, or not to do.
In defiance, women decided to march regardless. This video shows the number of women who joined.
Then, at the intersection, the security committee blocked us from continuing saying that women are not allowed to march. Arguments emerged between women and the security. Some women asked us why we are arguing and said that the men are only doing it for « our protection ». I responded by telling her that if we let them tell us what we can or cannot do now, we will be dishonoring the essence of change and reform. Today, they say you can not march, tomorrow they will say, you can not work etc.
Today, we were full of sadness and sorrow for what happened to our brothers around the nation. We wanted to express that feeling with our brothers. Unfortunately we were denied that right.
Women of Yemen, we need to stand up for our rights now more than ever. We were at the square of change from the first day as equal partners in the struggle for reform, and we will continue as partners until the end.
** Note **
For those that worry that any negative criticism about what is happening in the square may cause rifts, I tell them this: What is happening in the squares is absolutely amazing, but of course we are human beings and mistakes may happen, it is not a utopia. In addition, differences of opinion are normal and very healthy.
When people criticize, do not fear for the revolution, our goals are too honorable and too big for it to be affected by differences of opinion. These differences are normal, and expressing them only enriches the diversity at the square, it does not cause rifts.