At least two people died when security forces opened fire on protesters in different parts of southern Yemen on Wednesday, September 15, taking the total death toll in the ongoing protests to three. One protester had died in Aden on Tuesday night. Hundreds of protesters in different cities across southern Yemen have taken to the streets since Monday against the deteriorating economic conditions and to demand basic public amenities that have been disrupted due to six years of war and infighting among members of the Saudi-led war coalition.
On Wednesday, one protester died in Aden and one was killed in neighboring Hadhramaut province’s capital, Mukalla. At least 23 others were injured when security forces of the government led by now deposed president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi opened fire on them. Hadi fled Yemen in 2015 and now lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The protests that started on Tuesday night continued on Wednesday when thousands of people took to the streets in different parts of southern Yemen including Aden, Hadhramaut, Shabwa and Abyan provinces, which are under the control of the Saudi-led coalition. The Houthis control the northern part of the country including the capital Sanaa.
Violent protests have erupted in Aden and other cities in the south of Yemen over widespread poverty and electricity outages as a Saudi-backed alliance struggles with a complete collapse of public services in areas they control.@RandaHabib https://t.co/c212GOsM2h
— GCC Monitor (@GCCMonitor) September 15, 2021
There has been infighting among partners in the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi. The Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks secession from the north and is also part of the coalition, has called for more protests in the coming days against “the occupation” of the government led by Hadi, Reuters reported.
Last year, the STC took control of Aden and only allowed the Hadi-led government to operate from there as its “interim capital” after an agreement was mediated by the Saudis. During the protests on Wednesday, hundreds of people marched to the Maashiq presidential palace where the Hadi government is located.
Protesters in southern Yemen claim that the government has failed to maintain public services and control inflation, which has led to increased poverty in the region.
Frequent fighting among coalition members has disrupted the supply of food and medicine. The closure of several economic activities has also affected the economy, leading to rising unemployment and inflation. The COVID-19 outbreak has worsened the situation.
Yemen, with a total population of around 29 million, has faced shortages of food and medicine since the war began in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has bombarded civilian areas and blockaded the sea and land routes to Yemen, leading to an acute humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country. Hundreds of thousands have died and millions are on the brink of death due to starvation and lack of adequate medical care. The UN has called the situation in Yemen “the worst humanitarian crisis of the century.”