“My message is only to the American people: is spilling more Yemeni blood acceptable to you?” asked a man in his seventies. “There is no difference between the vampires and Donald Trump. Trump is a real character who insists on sucking more Yemeni blood,” a young protester told MintPress.
SANA’A, YEMEN — Tens of thousands of Yemenis held demonstrations in the country’s capital, Sana`a, Hodeida, Sada`a and others provinces on Friday to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump’s veto of a U.S. congressional resolution directing him to end support for the Saudi-led Coalition’s war against Yemen.
In what can only be described as boost to the Saudi-led Coalition and a tragedy for the civilians of Yemen, Trump vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end the U.S. role in the devastating Yemen war, dismissing concerns raised by U.S. senators, human rights organizations, and global activists fighting to bring an end to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Friday’s demonstrations came in response to a call to action from the Houthi movement, the main force countering the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen. Protesters carried Yemeni flags and banners denouncing the United States for supporting the war and blockade against their country.
Protesters accused the U.S. of being complicit in alleged war crimes committed in Yemen, where thousands have died and millions have been forced to the brink of starvation.
“There is no difference between the vampires and Donald Trump. Trump is a real character who insists on sucking more Yemeni blood,” a young protester told MintPress.
Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdullSalam held the United States responsible for the “massacres, crimes and the unjust siege of Yemen” and told a crowd of protesters that Trump’s veto “proves that the United States is not only involved in the war on Yemen but also was behind the decision to go to war.”
Trump veto thrills Coalition
Needless to say, Trump’s veto was praised by members of the Saudi Coalition. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s main partner, praised Trump’s decision to veto the bill. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Wednesday:
President Trump’s assertion of support to the Arab Coalition in Yemen is a positive signal of U.S. resolve towards America’s allies. Common strategic interests are best served with this clear commitment.”
Gargash also termed Trump’s decision as “timely” and “strategic.”
Yemenis who spoke to MintPress about the move said they view Trump’s veto against ending U.S. involvement in their country as immoral and fear that it will enable the Saudi-led Coalition to commit more crimes against their people, who they insist have done nothing to the U.S. and pose no threat to it.
Trump’s latest dagger comes amid a precipitous climb in Saudi Coalition war crimes this month, including an attack that killed 14 schoolchildren when Saudi airstrikes targeted a factory in close proximity to schools, homes, and shops in Sana`a on the morning of April 8.
The UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, said that more than 7,500 children have been killed and maimed in the war, noting that “more than 3,000 children were verified as recruited and used [as child soldiers], and over 800 cases of denial of humanitarian access to children were documented.”
Gamba said the data was collated from April 2013 to the end of 2018, warning that many sexual assaults on children may have gone under-reported owing to the difficulty of obtaining information. She called on rival factions to take urgent measures to guarantee that their military operations adhere to relevant international laws. After Trump’s veto and its shot in the arm for the Coalition, the situation facing Yemen’s children will likely get worse, according to Yemeni activists who spoke to MintPress.
Since the war began, humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned the United States that the Saudi Coalition is targeting civilians using U.S. weapons. A recent University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) report titled, “DAY OF JUDGMENT: The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen,” revealed that many Coalition attacks appeared to have taken place far from any potential military target. The report went on to say that Coalition forces took no adequate precautions to minimize harm to civilians, as required by international humanitarian law.
Moreover, the ongoing support of the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen has resulted in the deaths of 15,250 civilians, including 3,527 children and 2,277 women, according to the Legal Center for Rights and Development in Yemen, a non-governmental organization monitoring human-rights violations immediately after their occurrence. These figures will likely increase in the wake of the ongoing U.S. support to Coalition as a result of Trump’s veto.
Trump on trial for murder in Hodeida
Demonstrations across Yemen also commemorated the first anniversary of the death of former President of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad, who was killed with his bodyguards on April 19, 2018 by Saudi airstrikes in Hodeida. Demonstrators carried Yemeni flags, photos of al-Sammad, and banners emblazoned with messages of steadfastness and promises to take revenge on leaders of the Saudi-led Coalition.
In the Sada`a province in northern Yemen, hundreds of thousands took to the streets despite the ever-present Saudi warplanes hovering above. Houthi air defenses eventually shot down one of the Saudi drones circling the area over the Bani Mu’ath district, the birthplace of al-Sammad. The remains of the drone were later found scattered in a field once owned by al-Sammad.
The drone was identified as a Wing Loong drone, a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group in China. In March 2017, China announced it would deliver 300 Wing Loong II to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, a specialized criminal court in Hodeida governorate began the trial of 62 defendants charged for their role in assassinating Yemen’s former president al-Sammad. Defendants include the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Top photo | An effigy of Donald Trump with the words “Yemeni child murderer” is burned at a protest in Hodeida, Yemen condemning the US’ ongoing military support for the Saudi-led Coalition war in Yemen. Photo | AnsarAllah Media Center
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.