The UAE-backed separatists in Yemen have declared a state of emergency across the southern provinces including the disputed port city of Aden. The city is supposed to be the interim capital of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government in exile in Riyadh.
The announcement by Aidarus Al-Zoubaidi, the head of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), was made during a televised speech yesterday. It comes amid mounting protests and unrest over deteriorating living conditions and the local economy.
Zoubaidi called on security forces to "protect and secure protests in Mansoura directorate and protect public and private interests. The elements seeking to derail these legitimate protests and distort their demands should not be tolerated."
Citing local sources in Aden, the Yemen Press Agency reported that hundreds of protesters closed the area around the May 22 Stadium and demanded improvements in basic services such as electricity, water and oil derivatives. They were demonstrating for a third straight day. Some are reported to have set fire to government buildings and burned cars in the streets.
Video circulating on social media showing UAE-backed STC militia firing live ammunition to disperse the demonstrates in #Aden today.
7 protesters were reportedly injured.#YemenMirror pic.twitter.com/g01FOg5M13
— Yemen Mirror (@TheYemenMirror) September 14, 2021
The dire situation worsened with the unprecedented devaluation of the local currency, the rial, which has added to the grievances of the people living under the STC. According to Reuters, dozens have been injured and at least three people have been killed as a result of violent clashes with security forces, two in Aden and the third in the provincial capital of Hadhramout, Mukalla.
"We came out to protest after our life has become impossible," said Ahmed Saleh, 34, a government employee. "There is no electricity, no water, and salaries can't buy us anything. We are not going to wait until we die."
In March, hundreds of protesters stormed the Presidential Palace in Aden over similarly bad living conditions and the corruption of the Yemeni government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, prompting several cabinet members, including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, to return to Saudi Arabia. Earlier that month, locals also clashed with STC security forces which have been in control of the city since August 2019.