Hundreds protest against Yemeni internationally-recognized government in Taiz
Hundreds of people took to the streets of the embattled Yemeni city of Taiz on Saturday morning to protest against the internationally-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, while shelling by Houthi rebels killed a football club captain and his son elsewhere in the city.
The protesters said that the internationally-recognized government and the Saudi-Emirati led coalition supporting them had brought the country to the brink of famine.
The value of Yemen’s currency, the riyal, collapsed last week, reaching an unprecedented low of 930 riyals to one US dollar on Thursday. This has worsened already dire economic conditions in the conflict-ravaged country, where the Saudi-Emirati led coalition has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control the Yemeni capital Sanaa, since 2015.
The United Nations has called the Yemeni conflict the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and repeatedly warned that millions of people risk starvation, amid a shortfall in international aid.
The protesters held up signs saying “Enough is Enough” and “Iran and the UAE are two sides of the same coin”.
They vowed to continue protesting in the coming days until “Yemeni resources are liberated from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates”.
While the UAE is officially part of the Saudi-led coalition supporting Hadi’s government, it has backed the separatist Southern Transitional Council, which challenges the president’s authority in south Yemen.
President Hadi is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia, and some Yemenis speculate that he may be held there against his will. Among the signs raised by the protesters were several saying “Is our president a refugee or a prisoner?”
Security forces warned protesters against straying from the protest march’s designated route, which passed through Gamal Abdel Nasser Street in the city centre.
Taiz is on the frontline between forces loyal to Hadi’s government and Houthi rebels, who control the city’s outskirts.
Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported on Saturday that Houthi shelling hit a local football pitch in the city killing Nasser Al-Raimi, a football club captain, and his son Raimy as they played there.