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Yemen: protests in Taiz over currency crisis

September 19, 2021 at 11:10 am

Yemenis protest against the government after high depreciation of Yemeni Rial in Taez, yemen on September 17, 2021 [Abdulnasser Alseddik/Anadolu Agency]

Yemenis staged a protest in the southern city of Taiz on Saturday to express their frustration after a plunge in the local currency which led to a surge in prices and shops close.

The angry protesters chanted slogans calling for urgent government intervention to stop the currency’s collapse and to provide oil derivatives and basic materials.

Through their chants, they held the Yemeni government, the “Southern Transitional Council”, the Arab coalition, and the “Houthis” group responsible for the deterioration of the currency.

The Taiz City Traders’ Confederation (a union entity), said in a brief statement: “They will carry out a 4-hour strike on Saturday.”

READ: 18,000 Yemen civilians killed, wounded in air strikes since 2015

The tradesmen vowed to “continue to escalate and strike if their demands are not met, to put an end to the collapse of the national currency, open the siege on the city, and find real solutions to stop the deterioration of the economy.”

The Yemeni authorities did not issue an immediate comment, even about the protests and the partial strike announced by traders in Taiz.

In recent days, Yemenis exchanged one US dollar for more than 1,100 Yemeni rials. At the beginning of 2015, one US dollar was traded for 215 Yemeni rials.

For days, the governorates of Aden, Hadhramaut, and Taiz have been witnessing angry protests denouncing the deterioration of services and the significant rise in food prices due to the unprecedented deterioration in the history of the Yemeni rial.

Human rights and humanitarian organisations accuse the “Houthis” of imposing a siege on the center of Taiz governorate (which is under government control) since the outbreak of the conflict in 2015, and of preventing humanitarian relief convoys from reaching the population and those affected by the war, which the group denies.

For nearly seven years, Yemen has been witnessing a war that has claimed 233,000 lives, and 80 percent of the population of about 30 million people has become dependent on aid to survive.

READ: 3m Yemen children unable to access education

Yemen on Thursday called on the Gulf states to organise an urgent conference to support the country’s deteriorating economy.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict has claimed more than 233,000 lives.