This is the blog of journalist, Lonely Planet author and photographer Stuart Butler. It features news and travel updates from the regions in which Stuart works, including northeast Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan), Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Yemen Updates

Why does al-Jazeera make Yemen its main news story and the French news doesn’t even mention Yemen. Not a single word! If it weren’t for internet news nobody in France would even know what is happening there. Disgusting that unusual weather was a bigger news story….

Sorry, rant over! So, the news over the course of the day continues to get worse from Yemen. There are not yet any casualty figures from today but the first wave of tribesmen have broken through and entered the city. More are reported to be en-route to Sana’a from the small city of Amran a short way north of Sana’a. After a short pause in the fighting things have started up again and people are reporting heavy explosions and mortar fire almost non-stop. Thousands of people are said to be fleeing Sana’a. The airport, which closed earlier today, has now reopened (presumably people will be leaving rather than arriving!) I have not been able to get in touch with any of my contacts anywhere in Yemen today. I would love to hear from the rural areas about the situation, but nobody seems to know much. One bright bit of news from Sana’a though is that kids are still playing in the streets of the old town! There is also a rumour floating around that Saleh might now be willing to sign the GCC agreement to hand over power – he has said he will sign three times now but still not done it. I will believe it when I see it. Tomorrow is Friday normally the biggest day of (peaceful) protest. Tomorrows protests are still scheduled to take place (in a different part of the city to the fighting) and are ‘in memory of the people of Ta’iz (many protestors were killed there by security forces earlier this week). I would imagine that with a combination of Friday protests and more armed tribesmen arriving at the gates of Sana’a and other Yemeni cities tomorrow might well be a crunch day.

I’ve just heard that explosions are being reported in other areas of Sana’a – it seems the area of fighting is expanding….

I’ll update again tomorrow.

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