Tens of thousands gathered in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Sunday to protest the Saudi-led airstrikes on a funeral ceremony that left over 150 people dead and hundreds injured on Saturday.
The angry protesters, some of whom were armed, gathered outside the UN office in Sanaa demanding an investigation.
Some of the protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar! America is the Great Satan!” while reportedly also shouting death threats directed at Saudi Arabia’s rulers, according to AFP. The demonstration came a day after an airstrike reportedly targeted a funeral service in the Yemeni capital, killing more than 150 civilians and injuring over 525. In a statement cited by Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi-led coalition denied any role in the incident and vowed to carry out an internal investigation.
“After this massacre, we are more determined to confront the assailants,” prominent rebel leader Mohammed Ali al-Huthi told the crowd, as quoted by AFP. “Open the fronts with the Saudi enemy immediately.”
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The attack was condemned by the UN’s Secretary General, while White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said Washington was “deeply disturbed.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the funeral attack and called for “the most thorough and objective investigation” that would bring the executors and organizers of the crime to justice.
A repeat of such tragedy can only be avoided “through the cessation of violence and the resumption of full-fledged political process, in which the Yemenis themselves determine its future without external interference,” the ministry stressed.
UK Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said he will raise concerns over the “shocking” incident with the Saudi ambassador in London.
“There can be no military solution to this conflict. We urge all sides to recommit to political talks and to implement a cessation of hostilities,” Ellwood said.
“We heard the first blast when we were coming out. I saw people running, many of them in blood. Some of them had lost limbs. Everything was in blood. Dozens or hundreds of wounded. People rushed to help, to take the wounded to hospital, and then there was another strike. A man who attacks people aiding the wounded has neither conscience nor humanity. There were so many people. It’s the biggest square in Sanaa, and it was full of people,” a witness of the deadly attack told RT Arabic.
“There are a lot of people who knew someone who was inside, and overall inside the country, there has been an intensification of the violence – particularly in the frequency of the air strikes,” Rima Kamal of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told RT by phone from Sanaa. “There is a need for humanitarian assistance, and it is bigger than what aid organizations can provide today.”
Though the airstrike is said to be the deadliest attack on non-combatants in the months-long Saudi-led operation against Houthi rebels, it is not the first time Yemeni civilians have been targeted.
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement said that the US was responsible for the carnage.
According to Press TV:
Addressing the Yemeni nation during a televised speech on Sunday, Abdul Malik al-Houthi said Saudi Arabia and its regional allies would not have carried out the Saturday airstrike, which claimed the lives of at least 140 people, if they had not received the green light from Washington.
“The United States is the first and foremost party responsible for the carnage,” Houthi stated.
He added that the Riyadh regime’s goal in its deadly campaign against Yemen was to kill the largest possible number of people, noting that the US and Saudi Arabia are accustomed to committing mass murder.
“Those killing Yemenis are morally bankrupt, which has driven them to perpetrate any sort of crime. The Saudis are killing Yemenis by means of US weapons and military aircraft. They strike where Americans pinpoint and allow,” the Ansarullah movement leader said.
He noted that the Saudi military aggression against Yemen was being pursued under Washington’s direct oversight, adding that the United States was playing the central role in this regard.