“We came here to protest against UAE and the Saudis They lied to us; they said they would make our country like Dubai, and now we are dying of hunger.”
— Yemeni protester Samiah Ubadi
YEMEN — Hundreds of thousands of Yemen`s people took the streets of big cities on Friday to demonstrate against the U.S.-backed and Saudi-led coalition in the wake of the spread of famine throughout the country. They accuse the coalition of causing that famine.
To the country’s north, thousands of residents of four provinces — including Amran, al Mahweet, Thamar, and Sana’a — filled the streets of the capital Sana’a in Bab al-Yemen, carrying placards and Yemeni national flags and chanting slogans condemning the blockade and economic war against the country.
Speaking amid the protest, Mohammed Ali al Houthi, head of the Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC), said the stability of Yemen`s riyal and the return of salaries depend on returning the bank to Sana’a and the lifting of the siege.
He warned the coalition about continuing the economic war:
We will mobilize thousands of fighters to the battlefields if the currency continues to deteriorate. We are prepared to face the coalition’s economic war for generations.”
Houthi confirmed sensitive vital facilities would be targeted, including wells and tankers.
On the other hand, Houthi confirmed that his movement is ready to make peace, but only on honorable terms, saying, “We are for an honourable peace and the Yemeni people will stand beside whoever wants to stop the aggression.”
In related news, the Houthis welcomed the European Union’s stance against the war in Yemen. On Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution through which it has called all sides to end the war. The resolution also called for an urgent ban on the sale of weapons to the Saudi-led coalition.
In a televised speech on Thursday evening, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah movement, said that Ansar Allah would not give in to the invaders’ demands, but has emphasized that it is ready for a peace that would end the war and occupation.
Al-Houthi blamed the Saudi-led coalition for a stalemate in peace talks and a political resolution of the war in Yemen, saying, “the enemies blocked all efforts to restore peace while the Sana’a negotiators offered concessions.”
To the country’s northwest, thousands of residents of Sadaa poured into the city center to express anger at the current economic crisis that the coalition’s war has created. They called on the international community to prosecute Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and for measures to stabilize the economy.
Forty-year-old Mohammed al Ezi told MintPress: “We will not die of starvation while our aggressor neighbor, who behind is our suffering, lives in luxury.”
Starvation and a major change of heart
In Yemen`s western city of Ta’iz, similar protests took place as participants chanted slogans to expel the coalition forces. Samiah Ubadi — a mother to three, who has also participated in previous protests in Ta’iz — said:
We came here to protest against UAE and the Saudis They lied to us; they said they would make our country like Dubai, and now we are dying of hunger.”
Samiah was one of many Yemenis who initially welcomed the Saudi-led coalition but no longer support them. She added, “I am not giving up protesting until we end our suffering and recapture our country from the invasion.”
Similar demonstrations were also held in Yemen`s southern provinces, which are currently occupied by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In Aden, southern Yemen, thousands took to the streets to protest against the coalition and the Saudi-backed administration of former Yemeni President AbdRabbuh Mansur Hadi, angry at his mishandling of the deteriorating economic situation.
Fifty-year-old Aden resident Jamal Abdu told MintPress:
The gangs of the Saudi-led coalition take our money, the food of our children, and the incomes of the south to put in their own treasury.”
The Southern Transitional Council (STC), supported by the UAE, called on the people of Yemen’s south to take control of public institutions, saying:
The Saudi-backed administration (of the former Yemeni president) led to the collapse of economy and currency and the instability of society, affected services, and stopped development.”
On Wednesday, the STC announced that all southern provinces are disaster areas as a result of the disastrous politics of the Saudi-led coalition and the administration it props up.
Save the Children warns that 5.2 million children in Yemen now face starvation. Last month, the organization predicted that at least 36,000 children in Yemen — an average of 1,600 children every day — will die from extreme hunger by the end of the year.
Moreover, 5 million Yemeni children may not see their next birthday in a war the UN Children’s Fund described as a “living hell” for minors, with 18 million of Yemen’s total population of 29 million food-insecure, according to UN estimates.
The coalition has used systematic economic strangulation as a weapon of war — targeting jobs, infrastructure, the agricultural sector and pumping stations, factories, and the provision of basic services, as well as imposing a land, sea and air embargo impacting the country’s imports — causing the spread of famine throughout the country.
Top Photo | A woman holds a sign with showing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, during a protest against the deteriorating economy in Taiz, Yemen. Photo | Reuters
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.