Angry anti-Saudi protest in Yemen after funeral carnage
SANAA: Thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in the capital Sanaa on Sunday to vent anger at Riyadh, head of a coalition accused of carrying out air strikes that killed at least 140 people at a funeral.
The protesters gathered outside UN offices in Sanaa and chanted against the Saudi royal family.
The rally, dubbed the “Volcano of Rage”, came a day after bombs hit a funeral ceremony in the capital, in one of the deadliest air strikes since the Saudi-led coalition intervened against Houthi rebels in Yemen in March 2015.
The attack also wounded more than 525 people, according to the United Nations.
“After this massacre, we are more determined to confront the assailants,” prominent rebel chief Mohammed Ali al-Houthi told the crowd. “Open the fronts with the Saudi enemy immediately.”
The coalition initially denied responsibility for Saturday’s strike but later said it was ready to investigate the “regrettable and painful” attack.
The Saudi-led coalition supports Yemen’s internationally-recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against the rebels, who seized the capital and swathes of Yemeni territory in 2014.
The UN says the conflict has killed more than 6,600 people — almost two-thirds of them civilians — and displaced at least three million since the Saudi-led intervention.
The coalition has faced repeated criticism from rights groups over civilian casualties in its campaign in Yemen.
UN chief demands ‘impartial’ probe into Yemen attack
UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for a swift, independent probe into the air raid that killed more than 140 people at a funeral in Yemen, demanding the perpetrators face justice.
“The Secretary-General condemns the attack on an event hall,” said a statement from Ban’s office. “Any deliberate attack against civilians is utterly unacceptable.”
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) October 9, 2016
The Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting rebels in Yemen and has been blamed for the Saturday strikes, has promised to investigate the incident it described as “regrettable and painful”.
Ban said the probe must be “prompt and impartial.”
“Those responsible for the attack must be brought to justice,” he added.
Ban’s statement said that the attack was “said to have been airstrikes by the coalition”, but the UN leader did not directly assign blame.
The attack, one of the deadliest since the coalition launched a military campaign against Yemen-backed Huthi rebels in March last year, also wounded more than 525 people, according to the UN.