Hundreds of Yemenis stormed the Presidential Palace in the southern port city of Aden yesterday in a protest against poor living conditions and corruption within the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Some of the protestors carried the flag of the former South Yemen republic.
According to an AFP correspondent, the demonstrators included retired military and security personnel. They were eventually pushed back peacefully, with government officials including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed still inside the building.
A government official told AFP that Yemeni and Saudi forces escorted the cabinet members, including Saeed, to the military intelligence building within the palace grounds.
When the marchers reached the presidential palace, banging on the gates, they were eventually allowed entry by the guards because the latter recognized the justice of their demands. The guards themselves have not received their salaries. pic.twitter.com/3a2BKS2NwS
— Stephen W. Day (@DaySWTweet) March 17, 2021
In December last year, ahead of the arrival of the then newly-formed power sharing government from Saudi Arabia, retired southern military personnel threatened to take control of the palace over unpaid salaries.
As members of the new government touched down at Aden Airport on a flight from Riyadh that same month, the airport was hit by three bomb attacks which killed at least 25 people. No government officials were harmed.
The government accused the Houthi movement of the attacks, although this was denied by spokesperson Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti. He in turn blamed Saudi Arabia, which supports the Hadi government against the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is still in control of much of the Aden province and previously seized the city and Presidential Palace in 2019.
According to Al Jazeera, a separate demonstration took place in Yemen's eastern city of Sayoun in the Hadhramout province, where dozens of people stormed a government complex protesting against dire living conditions and continuous price increases.
The Yemen Press Agency, meanwhile, reported that a demonstration against Hadi's government also broke out in the southern province of Abyan after the collapse of the illicit local currency, the deteriorating economy and rises in food prices. Demonstrators reportedly chanted for the resignation of the government and the Governor pf the Province, Abu Bakr Hussein.