Millions of people have rallied in Yemen to voice their strong support for a political body recently formed to run the country in the face of a Saudi military campaign to reinstate a former president.
People took to the streets in the capital in their millions before converging on a main square to support the Supreme Political Council, formed after peace talks with the Saudi side broke down recently.
They waved national Yemeni flags and chanted slogans like “We will sacrifice our souls and blood for the sake of Yemen,” as patriotic songs played.
Yemenis hold a demonstration to support the Supreme Political Council in the capital, Sana’a, August 20, 2016.
They also carried placards with messages reading, “Reforms are the most efficient popular force in the face of enemies” in Arabic in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia and Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Hadi resigned as president in January 2015 and then fled to Saudi Arabia which launched a ferocious military campaign against Yemen two months later to restore him to power.
Yemenis walk through the rubble of a house destroyed by the Saudi Arabian military in the capital, Sana’a, August 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The formation of the Supreme Political Council prompted Yemen’s parliament to hold its first session earlier this month since the outbreak of the conflict. The lawmakers endorsed the new council and formally stripped Hadi of any responsibility.
The decision to establish the council was made by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party back in late July. It was formally launched on August 6, when the Houthis and Saleh’s faction announced that they both had an equal share in the 10-member body.
Saudi raids on Yemen continue
The decision has prompted Saudi Arabia to step up its airstrikes on Yemen, especially the capital Sana’a.
On Saturday, Saudi warplanes launched separate aerial attacks on the Baqim, Saqayn and As Safra districts in the northern Sa’ada province, leaving several people injured.
An unspecified number of civilians also lost their lives and sustained injuries when Saudi military aircraft conducted five airstrikes against an area in the Usaylan district of the Shabwah province.
In the northern Sana’a Province, Saudi jets attacked the Arhab district, leaving at least three people dead.
Elsewhere, in the Lawdar district of the southern Abyan province, pro-Hadi militiamen opened fire on a car at a security checkpoint, killing a civilian and injuring three others.
Two Yemeni civilians were also killed and three others injured in Saudi strikes against the Harf Sufyan district of the northwestern Amran province.
Yemen has seen almost daily military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March 2015, with internal sources putting the toll from the bloody aggression at about 10,000.