Socialist Worker

Protests after Saudi airstrikes hit Yemen

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2525

The aftermath of another Saudi bombing in Yemen last year

The aftermath of another Saudi bombing in Yemen last year (Pic: VOA/wikimedia commons)


Thousands of Yemenis, some with guns, protested in the streets of the capital, Sanaa, last Sunday after a Saudi Arabian airstrike.

Saudi planes had fired at a funeral hall packed with mourners. The airstrike killed scores of civilians and wounded hundreds more.

A United Nations official said that over 140 people had been killed and 525 wounded, many seriously.

The Saudi offensive, which has gone on for more than 18 months, is backed by Britain and the US.

Bomb fragments found in the wreckage showed they had been supplied by the US.

The Associated Press quoted one rescue worker who described the remains of the blasted funeral hall as a “lake of blood”.

Videos show an initial hit followed by a second after rescue workers and civilians had rushed to the site to give aid.

Former Yemeni leader Ali Saleh was driven from office by mass demonstrations as part of a wave of uprisings across the Arab world in 2011. He was replaced by his vice president Abd Mansour Hadi.

But he also was forced to flee and was replaced by a government based on the Houthi religious and political group.

The Saudi regime, in an effort to bolster its influence in the region, uses Hadi as a figurehead to carry out the war.

Massacres

There have been repeated civilian massacres. In March an airstrike on a market in Mastaba killed 119 people including 22 children.

In September 2015 Saudi warplanes blasted a wedding party near Mokha, killing 131 civilians.

UN agencies say the war has killed 10,000 people, with most of the civilians slaughtered by the Saudis and their allies.

The charity Doctors Without Borders withdrew from six hospitals it was operating in northern Yemen after Saudi air strikes in August hit one of its clinics. The airstrike killed 19 people. Another had hit a clinic in Taiz in December.

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest arms customer. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade says the Saudi airforce uses British Paveway guided missiles and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The Tories have granted, and continue to grant, export licences for weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.

They licensed £2.8 billion of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the six months after the bombing started.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world and the war has brought further appalling devastation.

Some three million people have been forced from their homes and seven million people—half the population—are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Saudi-backed Yemeni troops claim to be nearing Sanaa.

This is a recipe for mass murder—and Britain will have blood on its hands.


Democracy demos in Ethiopia spark clampdown

Hundreds of anti-government protesters have been killed in Ethiopia as they fight for democracy and accountability.

The government declared a state of emergency on the eve of a visit by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

At least 52 people were killed recently in the town of Bishoftu at a religious festival that turned into an anti-government protest.

Security forces used bullets and tear gas to attack a crowd of tens of thousands of people, causing a deadly stampede.

The government shut down much of the internet across the country during the past week in an effort to stop activists using social media to mobilise.

The Ethiopian government has long been regarded as a model by the West because it strongly pushes market policies and welcomes foreign investment.

Former Labour leader Tony Blair has lauded Ethiopian governments.

He appointed former leader Meles Zenawi to his Africa Commission in 2004.

Western countries, including Britain, have continued to allow arms exports to the government.

And they have used its troops to fight in their interest in Somalia.


Israeli police shoot Palestinian activist

Misbah Abu Sbeih

Misbah Abu Sbeih


A Palestinian man killed two Israelis—one a policeman—in occupied East Jerusalem last Sunday after prolonged harassment by Israeli forces.

The man, Misbah Abu Sbeih, was later shot dead after a gun battle with Israeli police.

Misbah was a prominent Palestinian activist known for his role in defending the Al Aqsa mosque compound from incursions by right wing Israeli groups.

Such incursions are deliberate provocations by groups who want to force Palestinians out of East Jerusalem.

Israeli forces stepped up repression in East Jerusalem recently to allow Israeli activists to enter the mosque’s compound. Israel also banned Misbah from all of East Jerusalem on 2 October.

He is the 232nd Palestinian known to be killed by Israeli forces since October last year.


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