You are here

Thousands protest in Yemen against Saudi-led blockade

Saudi Arabia and its allies tightened restrictions on Yemen following missile attack against Riyadh

By AFP - Nov 13,2017 - Last updated at Nov 13,2017

Two children with their faces painted in red, white and black gesture during a protest, over the closure of Yemen's borders in Sanaa, Yemen, on Monday (Anadolu Agency photo)

SANAA — Young and old, desk clerks and activists, Yemenis from all walks of life took to the streets on Monday to protest a Saudi-led blockade that has left thousands struggling to survive.

"This siege is oppressive, and the whole world is sleeping!" people chanted as thousands gathered outside the UN offices in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

Their faces painted the colours of the Yemeni flag or in traditional dress, protesters marched to demand the end of a blockade on the country's ports, airports and border crossings, imposed last week by a Saudi-led military coalition battling the country's Houthi rebels.

A young girl had her face painted half black, half white — her red flowered veil completing the colours of Yemen's national flag.

An elderly man had tucked a portrait of Shiite rebel leader Abdulmalik Al Houthi into his head wrap.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have said the tightening of restrictions on Yemen is a direct response to a missile attack against Riyadh earlier this month, claimed by the Iran-backed Houthis.

The United Nations last month blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition for the killing and maiming of children in Yemen.

The Yemen war has killed thousands and brought the impoverished country to the brink of famine, as the coalition continues to fight alongside the government against the Houthis and their ally, strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh Al Samad, the head of the Houthi political council, demanded that the coalition end its blockade on Yemen — where both parties in the conflict stand accused of neglecting civilian safety.

"The right choice for the Saudi regime and its allies is to stop the war, end the blockade and engage in direct dialogue," Samad said at the rally.

"Continuing the aggression and the blockade will force us to... harm those nations in defence of our people." 

The coalition has said it has reopened the Port of Aden and a land border, both controlled by its allies in the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

But the rebel-held Red Sea Port of Hodeida remains closed. The port is crucial to UN aid efforts, as it is a central valve for a significant portion of Yemenis in need.

Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemen war in March 2015 with the stated aim of rolling back the rebels' territorial gains and restoring the government to power.

The United Nations now lists Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, 7 million of whom are at risk of famine.

 

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock last week warned that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims".

up
27 users have voted.

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
3 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.