After the stunning defection on Monday of al-Ahmar, the chief of the military forces in Yemen’s northwest, the center of gravity seemed to shift away from the presidential palace and to the protesters in the streets. For weeks, the protesters who have gathered at Sana’a University have been watched by police and soldiers. Some of those soldiers have shot and beaten the protesters.
On Tuesday, the police and soldiers were gone. In their place were checkpoints manned by al-Ahmar’s First Armored Division. Their orders were to protect the protesters from harm—that is, harm coming from anyone, even other elements of the Yemeni military.
Dexter Filkins, analysing the situation in Yemen and how the tides have turned for President Saleh

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