Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Peoples Dispatch.
On Sunday, January 8, president of the Sanaa-based government in Yemen, Mahdi al-Mashat, congratulated the thousands of protesters who participated in the “siege is war” rallies held across the country a day earlier to denounce the Saudi-led war and blockade.
Al-Mashat said that by participating in the rallies, the Yemeni people had once again shown their united opposition to the external aggression directed at their country and the suffering that the war has unleashed on millions of people.
Al-Masirah reported that thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in capital Sanaa and several other cities on Saturday, January 7, denouncing the Saudi Arabia-led and U.S.-assisted aggression and blockade of Yemen.
The protesters carried banners and posters denouncing the U.S.-Saudi collaboration in the war against Yemen and demanded an immediate end to the siege of the country. Protesters asserted that the blockade was another form of warfare against the people of Yemen.
Protesters also raised the issue of the uncertainty created following the collapse of a rare UN-led ceasefire in October. Speaking at the protests, Sa’ada Governor Mohammad Jaber Awad said that the “status of no war and no peace” should end as soon as possible as it allows the continued looting of the country’s natural resources, Press TV reported.
Ever since the Houthis took control of Sanaa, a Saudi Arabia-led international military coalition has been waging a war in Yemen, calling the Houthis an Iranian proxy. The coalition has also imposed a comprehensive land, sea, and air blockade of Yemen, preventing the movement of both people and goods. The war and the siege have killed thousands of people and caused massive suffering for millions.
According to UN estimates, over 377,000 people have been killed in the war so far and millions have been displaced from their homes. Over seven years of war have also severely devastated the health and other civilian infrastructure of Yemen, already the poorest country in the Arab world. According to one estimate, despite the ceasefire, over 3,000 Yemenis were killed or injured last year alone.
The United States has been supplying weapons worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and its allies and has provided technical and other forms of assistance to the coalition forces in the war. After facing global criticism for its role in creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, newly elected President Joe Biden decided to end the U.S. role in the war in Yemen in February 2021.
However, despite publicly announcing the end of its role in the war, the United States has continued supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies. There are also reports of its forces being involved in implementing the siege on Yemen.