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Activists place 5,000 flowers for Yemeni children at US Capitol

A pink carnation flower laid by activists rests on the West Lawn of the US Capitol in memory of Yemeni children killed by Saudi bombings, in Washington, US March 19, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Activists have laid 5,000 flowers outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, to remember the children killed and injured in Saudi Arabia’s brutal war against the people of Yemen and to protest the inaction of Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump to stop the deadly aggression.

The protest, organized by MoveOn and Avaaz activist groups, was held on Monday, a day ahead of talks between Trump and visiting Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

"We’ve laid 5,000 flowers on the Capitol lawn to honor the children who have been killed or brutally maimed in Yemen," said Nick Kimbrell, an organizer from the Avaaz organization.

“As the Saudi crown prince meets with President Trump, we’re here to show the cost of this war on children. Hundreds are dead, thousands are starving, and millions have no school to attend,” he added.

"This is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world right now and it is still ongoing when it can be stopped with just passing this legislation and allowing humanitarian aid," said Iram Ali, a MoveOn activist, referring to a bill sponsored by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that seeks to pull out US military forces from the conflict.

The Saudi-led military coalition has enjoyed logistic and intelligence support from the UK and the US.

The coalition has been pounding Yemeni towns since March 2015 in order to defeat the Houthi Ansarullah movement who took over after the country’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was aligned with Riyadh, fled the country.

The conflict has killed about 14,000 people, displaced more than 2 million and driven Yemen to the verge of widespread famine.

The Trump White House has warned the Saudis that concern in Congress over the humanitarian crisis and civilian casualties in Yemen could constrain US assistance.

Last week, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claimed that the American assistance, which includes intelligence support and refueling of coalition jets, was ultimately aimed at bringing the war toward a negotiated settlement.

Despite the US warning, Washington has continued to strike new weapons deals with the Riyadh regime amid outcry from the United Nations and other international organizations.

Trump has been specifically keen on expanding the military to military ties. He chose the kingdom as the first destination for his debut state visit last year and lured Saudi rulers to buy $110 billion in US weapons.

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