This video was taken by a local freelance journalist by the name of Feras Shamsan. He was attempting to film the sit-in occurring within Change Square when he was approached by three members claiming to be members of the security committee, who demanded that he stop filming. The security committee is charged with security inside the square and is an arm of the organizing committee. Demonstrators were protesting against what they perceive is religiously conservative Islah’s dangerous influence within the movement. Many feel that the committees are tools of Islah, whose spiritual head has called for the return of the caliphate. For several days now, the youth have been holding silent sit-ins within the square. They place tape across their mouths to symbolize Islah’s attempt to silence the youth movement and co-opt the movement for itself. Some of the footage here incorporates footage taken by demonstrators who were filming Feras’ exchange from below.

This is footage from the May 11th march to the Prime Minister’s building in Sana’a. I had trouble uploading it initially but was finally able to post it. A friend and I were covering the march that day when Saleh’s security forces opened fire into our street. We were immediately rushed into a nearby barbershop by protesters. We remained in the barbershop until the firing stopped and it was safe to exit.

As we took cover, a demonstrator outside was shot in the head and his body was carried away by Saleh’s men. All that remained of him was a blood-soaked scarf. Protesters asked me to film his scarf and to show it to the world so that in their words, the world could see Saleh’s brutality against peaceful protesters.  You can see that footage here.

HOOD, a local human rights NGO, recently revealed that it was state policy to carry away the bodies of dead and injured protesters in an effort to conceal crimes against protesters. They are in possession of leaked documents and have been collecting eyewitness testimony from victims and informants to build a case against Saleh. You can read more on that story here.

The following is an open letter from the Coordinating Council for the Youth Revolution of Change (CCYRC) to President Obama.  CCYRC describes itself as  an organization comprised of five committees with “members from movements groups, tribes groups, and governorates coordinators.”

In a statement released with the letter, CCYRC writes: “It would be so nice if President Obama acknowledged the Yemeni protesters’ existence during the speech on Thursday. He could really undo a lot of the damage and increase the level of confidence between millions of Yemenis and the US government. A short statement would go a long way to explain that the US is seeking a way to avoid a bloodbath.”

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His Excellency Mr. Barak Obama
President of the United States of America
Office of the President The White House
Washington D.C.

Date: May 17, 2011

Subject: Yemeni Youth Revolution: Yemenis have a Dream

Mr. President, Today, President Saleh is ignoring the voices of millions of Yemenis who are calling for a civil state that respects democratic values, human rights and public freedoms. We dream of a state that provides every Yemen with fair and equal opportunities to live and prosper in a secure homeland. Yemenis youth in and outside the country aspire to build a civil and peaceful society. Yemenis are counting on the U.S. to take a more active position to this end. the Gulf Cooperation Council’s initiative failed right after President Saleh refused to sign it. He has rather shown more brutality, promotion of corruption, suppression and failure to provide the basic economic and personal security for the average Yemeni.

Your Excellency, This is a unique opportunity for your administration to endorse the struggle of the people in Yemen against the dictatorship of Mr. Saleh. This conflict is between a ruler and millions of people who can no longer tolerate his reign, corruption and insecurity he’s brought. This is not a political conflict rather it’s a human struggle of a people who want to decide their own fate and end family rule in Yemen.

We are calling for your leadership to support our movement that seeks to build a new Yemen and prosperous society which can become a true partner in combating terrorism with the global community. We build on your administration’s wisdom to stand by and support the freedom seekers and the youth who represent more than 70 percent of the society, instead of supporting an ailing and already falling regime.

Mr. President, America’s democracy inspires us, and our people deserve no less than what decent human beings are entitled to. America’s standing and leadership in promoting the values of democracy and freedom is at stake. We trust in your humanity and leadership to know that our plight and struggle will be a priority for you in the coming days.

Please, don’t let us down. Thank you for your inspiration and support for freedom and democracy in Yemen and across the globe.

May God bless the people of Yemen and the United States of America.

The Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution for Change

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