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YEMEN: Nobel Peace Prize winner still on front line of protest

October 7, 2011 |  9:38 am

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman continues her struggle from a tent
Early this year, as the so-called Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa, Tawakul Karman moved into a tent in a sprawling encampment of anti-government protesters in Yemen's capital, Sana, that became known as Change Square.

That is where the journalist and human rights leader received the news Friday of her Nobel Peace Prize, and where fellow protesters came to congratulate her.

"All the Yemeni people now, all the [demonstrators] in Change Square, they are celebrating," she told Al Jazeera English in a telephone interview. "They are so happy, because this is their victory. It’s the victory for their methods in this revolution. ...  I am so proud of them."

The peaceful protests Karman organizes against President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been eclipsed in recent months by tribal fighting and government offensives. She said she has been threatened with jail and even death, but that she remains unbowed.

"I am in this square since February," she told Al Jazeera English. "I don’t leave this tent and this square."

In August, NPR visited the tent where Karman eats, sleeps and works on the ground. Her husband and three children visit on the weekends.

"Today is my beautiful day," she told NPR that day. "The one day a week I can spend with my family."


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-- Alexandra Zavis in Los Angeles

Photo: Tawakul Karman in a tent in Sana, Yemen, on Wednesday, two days before she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Credit: Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters