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1 killed as protests spread across south Yemen

Protest in Aden, Yemen on 16 March 2021 [SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images]
Protest in Aden, Yemen on 16 March 2021 [SALEH AL-OBEIDI/AFP/Getty Images]

Violent protests have erupted in Aden and other cities in the south of Yemen over widespread poverty and electricity outages as a Saudi-backed alliance struggles with a complete collapse of public services in areas they control.

Demonstrators blocked roads, set fire to government buildings and burned cars in the streets.

One protester was killed and dozens were wounded last night in Sheikh Othman, eyewitnesses told Reuters. Other witnesses said dozens of demonstrators stormed Maashiq presidential palace where the Saudi-backed government is based.

"We came out to protest after our life has become impossible, there is no electricity, no water, and salaries can't buy us anything. We are not going to wait until we die," said Ahmed Saleh, 34, a protester and government employee.

Protests were also reported in Hadramout, Shabwa and Abyan provinces over the last two days.

READ: Saudi rejects UN report on abuses in Yemen

South Yemen has been paralysed by a power struggle between the Saudi-backed government and the United Arab Emirates-backed southern separatists. Both are nominal allies under a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group in the north.

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), fighting for the independence of the south, had seized Aden and other southern areas before Saudi Arabia brokered a power-sharing deal to focus its feuding allies on the battle against the Houthis.

However, the conflict has crippled public services with frequent power outages that disrupted water distribution, aid supplies and medical services. Unemployment and spiralling inflation have compounded the misery in a country where most of the 29 million people rely on aid.

On Wednesday, Aden's streets were calm but stores and humanitarian organisations' offices were closed. Remains of charred cars and roadblocks were seen in many parts of the city.

An STC spokesman called for more protests in Shabwa today against "the occupation" of the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Hadi's government said security forces will protect protesters but will not tolerate "destruction of public and private property".

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Middle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUAEYemen
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