Unlike its sister square in Cairo, Sanaa's Tahrir Square is currently occupied by pro-government supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has more or less ruled Yemen since 1978. "Many are impoverished villagers and tribal members who come and stay because of the free food and allegedly because of a small daily stipend," according to Canada's Global and Mail newspaper.
Saleh's backers -- some of whom are armed -- have reportedly set up tents in the square as well as booths selling books and "plastic art and handicrafts exhibitions." The square has been the scene of fierce clashes between pro- and anti-government groups in recent weeks, forcing the opposition to set up its base some 2 kilometers away at Sanaa University.
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