The protests in Sana'a began in February 2011, following the fall of Mubarak in Egypt, with a group of youth setting down a row of tents outside their university gates, vowing not to return home until their demands were met. This ever-expanding tent-city became the hub of hope and inspiration for thousands of Yemeni people and was dubbed 'Change Square'. Within weeks, it became the arena where members of a heavily armed population set aside their weapons and peacefully assembled to demand the fall of (former) president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule. For the first time in over 30 years, the barrier of fear was broken. Men and women, city-dwellers and tribesmen, rich and poor, young and old, all stood together, equal and resolute in the face of adversity.
The Friday of Karama, March 18th 2011, marked a significant turning point in Yemen’s revolution when pro-government snipers opened fire on the peaceful protest. The tragic events of this day shook the nation to its core and propelled hundreds of thousands more to flock to the square in solidarity with their fellow citizens. Military officials defected and joined the protests; members of parliament resigned and announced their support for the revolution; southern separatists, northern Houthi affiliates and civilians united; entire tribes set aside their weapons, made amends with rival tribesmen and pitched up tents in the square in support of one cause – the liberation of Yemen from the shackles of a barbaric, oppressive regime. An extremely divided country, for once, experienced an unprecedented unity.
Karama Has No Walls is an eye-witness account of the day captured through the lenses of two cameramen and the stories of two fathers.