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Yemenis hold nationwide protests, blame US for petroleum products crisis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Yemenis take part in a protest in Sa'ada to condemn the siege imposed by the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen and the seizure of ships carrying critically needed petroleum products, on March 7, 2022.

Mass protests have been held in several Yemeni cities and provinces, including the capital city, to condemn the siege imposed by the Saudi-led coalition against the war-torn country and the seizure of ships carrying critically needed petroleum products.

The protests took place in many cities and provinces, including the capital Sana'a, Sa’ada, Hajjah, Ta’izz, al-Jawf, Ibb and al-Bayda, on Monday morning, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported.

In Sana’a, tens of thousands of Yemeni people hit the streets to condemn the US-supported Saudi-enforced oil blockade on their country. 

A number of Yemeni officials also addressed the crowd and warned of retaliation for losses and hardship inflicted by the Saudi -led coalition. The speakers said Yemenis will never cave in to pressure or accept humiliation of any sort. They also slammed confiscation of their national resources.

In Sa’ada, the protesters were seen carrying the Yemeni flag and chanting slogans condemning the US-backed Saudi aggression and siege.

The demonstrators also decried the United Nations’ silence on the crimes committed against the Yemeni people by the member countries of the Saudi-led coalition.

In a statement, the protesters held Washington fully responsible for the siege imposed on Yemen, stressing that the seizure of the petroleum products is “an American aggression, and confronting it is a legitimate duty”.

They also noted that the closure of Hudaydah port is “a war crime,” decrying the international community’s silence on the crime.

The demonstrators reiterated their support for the attacks carried out by the Yemeni forces in retaliation for the Saudi aggression.

Similar protests are expected to take place in the capital Sana’a later on Monday.

Last week, Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), said the Arab country is experiencing the toughest crisis since the start of the Saudi aggression and siege nearly seven years ago.

Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals Ahmad Abdullah Dares has warned that the Saudi seizure of ships carrying petroleum products could lead to the suspension of the service sectors and cause “a humanitarian catastrophe."

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies -- including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015. The war was to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall ex-President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh. The conflict, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

The Saudi-led coalition has also imposed an economic siege on Yemen, preventing fuel shipments from reaching the country, while looting the impoverished nation’s resources.

The UN says more than 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger. The world body also refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Saudi war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

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