Three army commanders, including a top general, have defected saying they are now with the protesters and calling for the end of Ali Abdullah Saleh”s 30-year rule.
The move came as thousands took to the streets of Sanaa on Friday to mourn the deaths of protesters killed by sniper fire.
The most senior to defect is Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a long-time confidant of Saleh, along with Bridadiers Ali Mohsin Saleh and Hameed Al-Qushaibi.
Also in recent days, the most prominent tribal council has thrown its lot in with the protest movement and a number of newly appointed cabinet ministers have resigned.
But will these mass defections be enough to force a peaceful handover of power? Or in a country still recovering from years of civil war is this divide a spark for another one?
Inside Story presenter Mike Hanna is joined by guests: Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University; Khaled Fahmy, a professor of history at the American University of Cairo; and Mark Perry, a foreign affairs analyst.
This episode of Inside Story aired on Monday, March 21, 2011.