Yemenis Protest Poor Living Conditions for Second Day in Aden

Aden, March 17 (AFP/APP): Hundreds of Yemenis took to the streets of the southern port city of Aden for a second day Wednesday to protest poor living conditions and rising prices in the war-torn country.

They marched through the de facto capital, where the internationally recognised government is based, chanting: “With our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice for you, the South.”

Some carried flags of the country’s southern separatist movement and others flashed the V peace sign, as they gathered near the United Nations office. Protestors told AFP they were angry over a lack of services and delayed salaries, urging the UN to pressure the government into implementing economic reforms.

“The general situation is bad,” Mohammed al-Ataf, a retired officer, told AFP. “Electricity and services are all cut off. People are suffering and mourning from hunger and distress in their lives.”

The march came a day after angry protestors — including retired military and security officers — stormed the presidential palace in Aden before being pushed back and dispersing peacefully.

Starving in their homes

Yemen’s government was formed in December under a Saudi-sponsored power-sharing agreement between ministers loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and supporters of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council. Both are technically fighting the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, who control the capital Sanaa in the north. But the STC has sought to restore South Yemen’s independence from the north. The two sides unified in 1990. Aden residents claim the new government has not done anything to remedy price inflation or repeated power cuts.

“We want the currency exchange rate to return to what it was in the past,” Arwa, the widow of a Yemeni soldier, told AFP. “Everything is going up, even sugar and rice… there are people starving in their homes, with no food and no water. We cannot afford our rents.”

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war between the government — backed by a Saudi-led military coalition — and the Huthi rebels since 2014, pushing the country to the brink of famine. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict, which has crippled the economy and healthcare system.

The UN calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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