The Square of Change in Sana’a: an Incubator for Reform

Yemen has witnessed widespread protests and sit-ins throughout the squares of change for the past three months. These squares became incubators for change and the birthplace of a new political culture. The time spent at the square has given protestors the time to network, organize, engage in awareness raising activities and honest dialogue, and agree upon general principles. While the focus at the beginning was solely on political reform, the interplay between different actors on the ground has forced individuals to begin discussion on social and cultural change as well, as a holistic approach. These terminologies are being tested on the ground. While this gave the movement an opportunity to mature, the longer this political deadlock lasts, the higher the chance of violence, especially by the circle around the President who will try to protect their own interests. The interplay between various actors on the ground will determine the future of the movement, and the country’s future direction.

This eyewitness report is by a Sana’a based researcher who was involved in the protests since late January 2011. While the protests are nationwide, the paper will focus only on the square of change in Sana’a.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.