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Yemeni women burn their veils to protest crackdown

GAMAL ABDUL-FATTAH AP 10/28/2011 07:45
Yemeni women burn their veils to protest crackdown - Middle East - Yemen


Hundreds of Yemeni women on Wednesday set fire to traditional female veils to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising, as overnight clashes in the capital and another city killed 25 people, officials said.



In the capital Sanaa, the women spread a black cloth across a main street and threw their full-body veils, known as makrama, onto a pile, sprayed it with oil and set it ablaze. As the flames rose, they chanted: "Who protects Yemeni women from the crimes of the thugs?"

The women in Yemen have taken a key role in the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's authoritarian rule that erupted in March, inspired by other Arab revolutions. Their role came into the limelight earlier in October, when Yemeni woman activist Tawakkul Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with two Liberian women, for their struggle for women's rights.

Wednesday's protest, however, was not related to women's rights or issues surrounding the Islamic veils - rather, the act of women burning their clothing is a symbolic Bedouin tribal gesture signifying an appeal for help to tribesmen, in this case to stop the attacks on the protesters.


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