The recent uprisings across the Arab world have much in common: hatred of dictators, corruption and inequality, and young activists yearning for human rights and democracy.

Look more closely, though and you will see the disparities and the protests in Yemen are a case in point.

For weeks activists there have been calling for political reform and for Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, to step down. The regime, in power for more than 30 years, has responded with a typically heavy-handed crackdown and then apologies for the deaths that have occurred.

What is different is that President Saleh has been effective in getting his own supporters onto the streets.

Their presence is clearly intended to send a simple message: not all Yemenis want sweeping political changes, or at least not while the country faces long-standing rebellions in the north and south, and is fighting al-Qaeda elsewhere.

On the opposition side, the key departure from the norm is that its most prominent activist is a mother of three, an inspiring figure in a country not known for progressive attitudes towards women. But for Tawakkol Karman it is political change for all that matters right now.

Source: Al Jazeera