Guarded optimism

We've been following the demonstrations in San‘a on Twitter since they began this morning. At the moment, the JMP-led events—which were described as festivals of political expression, dancing, music, rather than rage—are breaking up voluntarily. It seems people are happy to have had their say, and they are leaving to avoid any confrontation with pro-Salih demonstrators. We will keep an eye on things, as anything could happen later this week. Also, I'm curious to see what demos have been like in other cities. Have Ta‘iz and Ibb seen the same joyous scene?

Ta'iz especially is home to strong anti-regime and anti-northern sentiments. New tweets are claiming much larger crowds there than in the capital, perhaps as many as 200,000. If that's the case, we might still expect a response from security forces.

For that matter, what about demos in the south? In 'Aden, Abyan, and Hadhramawt, state violence is almost commonplace. I'll still be surprised if those places avoid a crackdown today.

But I'm not trying to spoil the mood. In San'a, at least, the demonstrators have proved that civil, peaceful political action is possible, even in such heady times.