One Woman Leads the Way in Yemen's Uprising

Tawakkol Karman says prez threatened her
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 10:16 AM CST
One Woman Leads the Way in Yemen's Uprising
Tawakkol Karman delivers a speech during a rally outside the government headquarters in Sanaa, denouncing the government's latest measures against the press, May 26, 2009.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Women are second-class citizens in Yemen, yet it’s a woman leading the country's latest round of protests, the Washington Post reports. Tawakkol Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three, is the country’s best-known activist, and she organized the first protests at Sanaa University following the ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia. “After Egypt, all the dictators in this region will fall,” she says, “and the first one will be Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

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One political analyst calls her a needed hero, saying, "She manages to do what most men cannot do.” She hasn’t escaped the regime’s notice, either; Karman says Saleh has threatened her, telling her brother that if he can’t control her, she’ll be killed. The ruling party says it knows of no such threat—but makes it clear that they’re not fans. “She doesn’t respect the president, the government, or the law,” one senior official says. “She says bad things about the president.” (Click for more on day 5 of protests in Yemen.)

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