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Yemenis stage demonstration in protest at Saudi-led air blockade

Thousands of people have staged a demonstration in Yemen to express their resentment over the ongoing Saudi-led air blockade and closure of the airport in the war-torn country’s capital city of Sana’a, which has made it impossible for food and medical supplies to reach the poor.

On Friday, the protesters converged outside Sana'a International Airport in a rally entitled “Continuation of the Air Embargo and Blockade are US Crimes.”

They chanted slogans against the United States and the Israeli regime for supporting the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen.

“The Saudi-led coalition of aggression must bear all consequences of continued siege of the Sana’a International. Yemeni people have the right to use all available options to break the siege and stop the aggression. The forces of aggression must take into account the last warning given by (the leader of the Houthi Ansarullah movement) Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.

“We call upon the Supreme Political Council and the National Salvation Government (led by Ansarullah movement and based in Sana’a) to take the necessary measures aimed at protection of our people,” the demonstrators said in a final communiqué.

Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtoor has censured the suffering of Yemeni people as a result of the three-year “unjustified” shutdown of Sana'a International Airport.

Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtoor (file photo)

He said on Thursday that the airport and the strategic port of Hudaydah used to serve as the main artery for the delivery of humanitarian aid and a great proportion of imports into Yemen.

“Everyone well knows that the closure of the (Sana'a International) Airport is an act of aggression by the Saudi-led coalition, and at the behest of the Zionist regime (of Israel) and (the United States of) America,” Bin Habtoor pointed out.

Late on Monday, international humanitarian groups slammed the Saudi-led air blockade of Yemen and closure of the airport in the war-torn country’s capital city of Sana’a, arguing that the measure has prevented thousands of sick civilians from traveling abroad for urgent medical treatment.

The Norwegian Refugee Council and Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) said the three-year suspension of services at Sana'a International Airport has amounted to a "death sentence" for many sick Yemenis.

They appealed on Yemen's warring parties to come to an agreement to reopen the airport for commercial flights to “alleviate humanitarian suffering caused by the closure.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Press TV in late May, Yemeni Health Minister Taha al-Mutawakil said the Saudi blockade had hampered efforts to help Yemeni civilians with medical assistance.

Mutawakil said many Yemenis were suffering from acute malnutrition.

He also added that there were more than 8000 dialysis patients, but they lacked treatment because the Saudis were preventing the entry of dialysis equipment and supplies.

Mutawakil further highlighted that the number of cancer cases had also increased due relentless Saudi bombardments and its use of internationally-banned ammunition.

The Yemeni health minister also slammed the international community for offering no help and staying silent about Saudi crimes in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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