In 32nd sit-in of WJWC, photography banned, protesters detained
Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) arranged on Tuesday its 32nd sit-in in solidarity with Alayam newspaper and the journalists Mohammed al-Maqaleh, Hisham Bashraheel, Shafea al-Abad, and Fuad Rashid, and the activist Ahmed al-Rubaizi, the writer Anisah Othman who are detained by the Yemeni authorities.
The sit-in also stood in solidarity with the persons displaced from the area of al-Jaashin due to the oppression made against them by the area's tribal leader, Mohammed Ahmed Mansour.
In the sit-in attended by activists, politicians , journalists and civil society organizations, protesters were barred from taking photos and the use of microphones, and a number of policemen came to the square and pursed journalists and barred them from transmitting the sit-in events to media outlets. A correspondent for Suhail TV was also assaulted.
Though tight security measures were taken, the sit-in continued, raising slogans of freedom of expression. The journalists taking part in the sit-in also raised their pens to illustrate that they only transmit issues of people to the local and international world.
During the sit-in, Chairwoman of WJWC Tawkol Karman spoke to the protesters, saying that the authoritarian authorities insisted in repressing civilians, and preventing them from taking photos and transmitting their suffering to other people.
Karman asserted that the Freedom Square was founded for supporting the opinion freedom, indicating that this square would continue demanding the rights of Saadah detainees, journalists and enforced disappeared persons.
"We will go on our activities at the Freedom Square until the journalists Hisham Bashraheel, Salah al-Saqladi, Fuad Rashid and Shafea'a al-Abad are released. We will continue for the sake of children, women of al-Ja'ashin's displaced persons. WJWC will stay staging sit-ins at this square until all demands are met" Karman added.
"Do you know what does freedom of expression mean? The authorities seek to gag mouths of journalists and other people. They are banning the transmission of your suffering into the local and international world" she continued.
"We have been striving for freedom of expression. We will stay here until people have their rights of freedom of expressions" she continued.
Karman urged the relevant authorities to visit al-Ja'ashin's displaced persons, protect them, help them return to their houses and have their properties.
Karman addressed Yemen's security and army forces, saying that their duty is to protect Yemenis, pointing out that they ignore the issues of Saadah's displaced persons, closing down of Alayam newspaper, abduction of the journalist Mohammed al-Maqaleh and Shafea al-Abad. She further cited that nobody knows where the journalists Waleed Sharaf al-Deen and Moamar al-Obadali are held.
She said that the sentence of three months in prison against the female writer Anisah Othman contradicts Yemen's claims about the protection of women rights, stressing that she will continue her sit-ins until the authorities respond tothe protesters' demands.
"If they banphotography, we will innovate new ways to transit our voices to others"she said, emphasizing that the authorities will not ban their rights in taking photos and writing and calling all protesters to attend to the headquarters of Women Journalists Without Chains to take photos of their sit-in and transmit their suffering to the world.
The journalist Saleh al-Suraimi said that they would continue their protests and that the resentment of the authorities is a clear-cut evidence that their activities were successful.
The activist Emran Shahbeen said that security authorities should realize that the repression of rights of freedoms will strengthen their insistence to continue their sit-ins.
The protesters then headed to the headquarters of WJWC where slogans were raised and photos of the sit-in were taken. At this time, an activist was detained, so the protesters went into the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation, raising and chanting slogans of freedom of expression.
At the front of the Criminal Investigation's gate, the protesters demanded to release their fellow, but the guards of the Criminal Investigating attacked them, using sticks and batons. They deal with them as if they were thieves and criminals. Slogans of the sit-in were confiscated and Karman was threatened. In the end, the protesters who used their rights guaranteed by the state-constitution were dispersed by security forces.
However, the protesters refused to leave without releasing their fellows. Afterward, officials of the Criminal Investigation met with MP Fuad Dahabah, Chairperson of WJWC Tawkol Karman, Secretary General of the Yemeni Organization for Defending Human Rights and Freedoms Ali al-Dailami and the journalist Saleh al-Suraimi, and the detainees were then released.
It is worth mentioning that the activists Arif al-Sama'e and Fuad al-Hamdani were detained from the Freedom Square.