By all accounts this weekend is shaping up to be some of the fiercest fighting to-date in Sa'dah. This News Yemen piece appears to confirm what I've been told.
My basic rule of thumb when it comes to demonstrations in Yemen is to cut the number of alleged protesters in half, but even applying that gives us some huge numbers when it comes to the October 14 protests in Radfan. Al-Jazeera is reporting that the Ministry of the Interior is banning demonstrations, which is not surprising but the 500,000 protesters are. My rule of thumb would suggest 250,000, which is much closer to the local estimates of 200,000 I heard.
The protests haven't gotten much news coverage because everyone if focused on the north, but this should remind us yet again that none of Yemen's crises take time off and this includes the al-Qaeda threat.
This brings us to this story from 'Ukaz on the recent shootout in Jazan in which two al-Qaeda suspects were killed. Still no information on their identities but 'Ukaz is suggesting that two were wearing suicide belts - more like vests - that they would detonate instead of being captured. This is, I think, not a good sign. (There isn't a great deal of breaking news in the story.)