On the second anniversary of Yemen’s brutal war thousands rallied in the capital of Sanaa protesting the conflict that has led the country to famine.
It was the largest rally since a Saudi-led coalition, that includes U.S. military aid, entered the country’s civil war.
Supporters gathered to rally behind President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party and the Iranian-aligned Houthi Rebels that ousted President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from power.
Many donned the country’s official colours, red, white, and black, and others proudly carried Yemen’s flag. There were placards that read ‘Steadfast’ and ‘End the Siege on Yemen’.
GPC leader Essam al-Abed spoke to the crowd, “This is a message to the world to tell everyone that despite two years of war, the Yemeni people are still victorious, still alive and still love peace.”
Chairman of the ruling council comprised of Houthi Rebels and the GPC Saleh al-Samad’s bolder words, “The battle is still fierce and the war will not end without a victory for the truth and justice,” energized the Yemeni audience.
Amidst civil unrest President Saleh was forced to step down in 2011. However, many military generals still supported him, while many Yemenis were dissatisfied with his successor President Hadi’s failure to deal with the rise of Al Qaeda, food shortages, and a failing economy. In September 2014, Houthi rebels, believed to have received support from Iran, took the capital from its Sunni government.
In March of 2015 a Saudi coalition, which received logistical support from the U.S., the U.K., France, and Canada, waged air raids against the rebels. The raids have targeted hospitals, roads, and have prevented humanitarian aid from delivering food, water, and medical supplies to where it’s most needed.
Ethical considerations regarding the complicity of Western countries have been raised, given that the Saudi coalition allows humanitarian aid for Sunni communities and not Houthi communities. Many accusations have been levied against Western powers for their potential complicity in genocide.
Peace talks held in Switzerland and in Kuwait have failed to create any hopes for peace. Houthi rebels and the GPC are demanding a coalition government, while Hadi’s forces are demanding Houthi rebels relinquish their weapons and retreat from the cities they’ve captured.
Photo Source: Reuters
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