Yemen: Huthi-loyal armed forces kill peaceful protesters as country descends into chaos

Photo: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

The death this morning of at least eight peaceful protesters, shot by members of the Huthi-loyal Yemeni Central Security Forces in Ta’iz illustrates a shocking disregard for human life as the country descends into chaos, said Amnesty International.

Doctors working at two hospitals in the city of Ta’iz told Amnesty International that at least another 119 individuals were admitted with injuries inflicted by security forces since anti-Huthi protests began on Sunday. Most were treated for injuries related to tear gas inhalation and at least 38 had gunshot wounds.

“Human rights in Yemen are in free-fall as even peaceful protest becomes a life-threatening activity,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

Human rights in Yemen are in free-fall as even peaceful protest becomes a life-threatening activity.
Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

“The Huthi leadership must immediately rein in the security forces and armed men under its control and tell them that force must not be used against peaceful protesters. People should not be at risk of death or serious injury for merely voicing their opposition to the Huthi takeover of towns and cities.

“The Prosecutor General should ensure that these shocking events are urgently and independently investigated. Those responsible for unlawful killing and arbitrary or abusive use of force must be brought to justice in fair trials.”

The demonstrations in Ta’iz began in the early hours of 22 March when hundreds of people gathered to protest against the de facto takeover of Ta’iz by the Huthi armed group, seizing key installations including the international airport.

Governmental authority has been contested in Yemen since January 2015 when President Abd Rabbuh Mansour al-Hadi resigned under pressure from the Huthis, an armed group that took over the capital in September 2014. Al-Hadi subsequently moved to Aden, in southern Yemen. Huthi forces are reported to be moving toward Aden.

For more information:

Yemen: Peaceful protesters targets of Huthis’ disturbing ‘torture-tactics’ (News, 16 February 2015)