Yemen: 'Yemen women burn veils in Sanaa in anti-Saleh protest'


Hundreds of women have set fire to their traditional veils in Yemen in protest at the violence used against anti-government demonstrators. The women, in the capital Sanaa, made a pile of veils in the street which they then doused with petrol and set alight.

Women have played a key part in the uprising against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Yemeni woman activist, Tawakkul Karman, was joint winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. She received the award for her role in the struggle for women's rights and democracy in Yemen.

The veil-burning protest began when a group of women spread a black cloth across a main street. They threw full-body veils, known as makrama, onto it. As the flames rose, they chanted, "Who protects Yemeni women from the crimes of the thugs?" The Associated Press news agency says they also handed out leaflets appealing for help.

"Here we burn our makrama in front of the world to witness the bloody massacres carried out by the tyrant Saleh," the leaflets read.

The women's protest followed further violence overnight between forces loyal to Mr Saleh and his opponents.

Deadly clashes

More than 20 people died in the fighting in Sanaa and the country's second city, Taiz. On Tuesday, the government announced a truce which it said had been agreed with rival forces, but there was no sign of any pause in the clashes. President Saleh has held on to power through eight months of protests against his 33-year rule.

The demonstrations were relatively peaceful to begin with but have increasingly degenerated into fighting between Saleh loyalists and different tribes and militias who have sided with the protesters. There has been widespread international criticism of the Yemeni government's response to the uprising. The United Nations Security Council has urged Mr Saleh to step down.

The president says he will sign a deal brokered by Gulf Arab countries to hand over power in exchange for immunity from prosecution. He has repeatedly indicated that his departure is imminent, but has yet to name a date.