Furious over the government crackdown on protesters, Yemeni women took to the streets of Sanaa today to burn their veils in a traditional act of protest. Tossing the veils into a pile and setting it alight, they chanted, “Who protects Yemeni women from the crimes of the thugs?” The protest followed another 25 reported deaths overnight as clashes continued despite a government ceasefire proclamation yesterday.
The symbolic veil-burning is rooted in a Bedouin tribal custom; women traditionally burned their clothes as a call for aid from their tribesmen, the AP reports. “This is a plea from the free women of Yemen,” said leaflets distributed by the protesters. “Here we burn our makrama in front of the world to witness the bloody massacres carried by the tyrant" President Ali Abdullah Saleh. On the other side of the city, meanwhile, women marched to the UN office to voice support for the president. (Read more Yemen stories.)