Yemen Arrests Anti-Government Activist

January 24, 2011

VOA News

Yemeni police have arrested a woman activist for leading anti-government protests in the capital, sparking a new wave of protests from hundreds of students demanding her release.

Police arrested Tawakul Karman early Sunday in Sana’a while she was on her way home with her husband. Officials say the protests she led were not staged within the boundaries of the law.

Demonstrations started outside Sana’a University Sunday as word spread of her arrest.  Reports and witnesses say riot police beat up and took the camera of at least one television cameraman filming the protest. At least one other cameraman was briefly detained.

Karman led hundreds of protesters Saturday calling for an end to the decades-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Students and other protesters gathered inside of Sana’a University, where they chanted anti-government slogans.

The demonstrators were apparently inspired by the recent wave of protests in Tunisia that led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.

The French news agency says some Yemeni students carried a banner reading “learn from the Jasmine Revolution,” a reference to the Tunisian uprising.  The news agency says other demonstrators rallied in support of the president.

Karman is a member of the opposition Islah party.

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