Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Wednesday, September 21, in Sa’da and other cities to denounce the Saudi-led war in the country and to mark the eighth anniversary of the Houthi-led armed uprising against the then government of Abdrabbu Mansur al-Hadi in 2014.
The protesters raised slogans against the continued Saudi-led aggression and blockade of the country. The protesters carried banners and placards displaying pictures of Houthi leaders and shouted slogans against the regional hegemon Saudi Arabia and the imperialist interventions of US and Israel in the country.
The protests were organized to mark the eighth anniversary of the capture of Sanaa by the Houthi-led armed uprising in 2014. Abdrabbu Mansur al-Hadi to flee the capital a few months later. He relocated his capital to the southern port city of Aden for a while before leaving for Saudi Arabia in March 2015. Even after fleeing the country, Hadi claimed to be the legitimate president and was backed by Saudi Arabia, the US, and others. Earlier this year, he was finally replaced by an eight-member presidential council.
Following the Houthi-led uprising, Saudi Arabia formed an international coalition with countries such as the UAE and others to restore the Hadi government to power. The Saudi coalition claimed that the Houthis were Iranian proxies and accused Iran of supplying weapons to the group. Both Iran and the Houthis have denied such allegations.
The Saudi coalition, backed by the US and its allies, has carried out hundreds of air strikes, sent in ground troops, and provided armament to local groups fighting against the Houthis in Yemen. It has also imposed a comprehensive land, sea, and air blockade of the country.
The airstrikes and blockades have led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis over the last seven years. According to the UN, millions of Yemenis have starved, often fatally, because of a lack of essential food and medicine due to the blockade and the war.
The organizers of the protests issued a statement praising the armed resistance against all external aggression and claimed that the resistance has widespread support from all sections of Yemeni society. The statement claimed that the resistance will continue until the complete “independence” of Yemen is achieved and all its land is “liberated from the clutches of invaders,” Press TV reported.
No attempts to achieve lasting ceasefire
A temporary two-month-long ceasefire was agreed on under UN mediation for the first time in April this year. It has been extended thrice so far. The ceasefire has brought some much-needed relief to the country by opening Sanaa international airport and allowing ships with essential commodities to dock at Hodeidah port.
Although it has been almost six months since the truce began, there has been no serious effort to achieve a permanent ceasefire in the country. Both sides have accused each other of violating the provisions of the truce and scuttling efforts to achieve permanent peace. Earlier this month, the UN Security Council, reiterating that “no military solution” was possible in Yemen, appealed to both parties to “to urgently intensify, and be flexible in, the negotiations under the auspices of the UN to agree on an expanded truce that could be translated into a durable ceasefire.”
The Houthi-backed administration in Sanaa has often complained of Saudi violations of the ceasefire agreement. The Saudi coalition has also prevented crucial humanitarian fuel and food supplies through Hodeidah port by confiscating over a dozen ships carrying such goods.
The Houthi-backed Supreme Political Council has also accused the Saudi-led coalition of looting Yemen’s natural resources such as oil and earning profit from it while common Yemenis suffer due to lack of basic amenities.