Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mass rally in war-torn Yemen in support of rebels, former president

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis marched on Saturday in support of Shiite Houthi rebels and their ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.


The march in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, was in support of a new combined governing council the rebels and Saleh announced late last month, but which was immediately rejected by the internationally recognized government and the United Nations. 

 Saleh was forced to step down in 2012 amid Arab Spring protests after more than three decades in power.

 As Houthi demonstrators packed Sanaa's Sabeen Square waving Yemeni flags and chanting slogans, chairman Saleh al-Samad outlined the council's plans for running the war-ravaged country following the breakdown of the peace talks earlier this month.

"Economic affairs will be the priority of our work in the coming period," he said.

In another speech broadcast on Houthi-run television, Samad ordered the Houthi delegation at peace negotiations in Muscat not to speak with the U.N. envoy leading the talks, saying they should first return to Sanaa for consultations with the council.

"The hand of peace is still outstretched," he added.

Later in the day, coalition airstrikes hit the presidential palace in Sanaa and other areas in the city, leaving an unknown number of casualties, security officials said.
 [AP/REUTERS/france24.com/ahram.org.eg]
20/8/16
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