Protests Erupt in Yemen Over Currency Crisis
(Bloomberg) -- Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz to express their frustration after a plunge in the local currency led to a surge in prices and shops to close.
The Yemeni rial fell to as low as 900 per dollar on the parallel market compared with the official central bank rate of 548. The depreciation has led to a rise in the price of goods including flour that resulted in a number of bakery owners closing down in protest.
The demonstrators, who have called their uprising a “revolution of the hungry”, are blaming the government, the Saudi-led coalition and the Shiite Houthi rebels for the devaluation.
They chanted “hey coalition and political parties, you have destroyed us,” while burning photos of government officials and flags of the coalition state members.
The country has been in a civil war since 2014 after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels evicted Yemen’s internationally recognized president, Abdurabu Mansur Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting to restore its ally for more than five years, contributing to the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Taiz has been at the center of some of the deadliest battles. Earlier today, a former soccer player from Al-Talia football team and his child were killed by a shell fired by the Houthis, relatives and local media reported.
The country is expected to form a new cabinet that will include southern separatists in the coming days, as Hadi seeks to cement the fragile detente between forces fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.
A leaked list of new cabinet members who are all male has drawn criticism from a group of women activists, including Nadia Sakkaf, former information minister, for the lack of female representation.
“There is no legitimacy for a government without women,” she said in a video released on Twitter.
The women are demanding that 30% of the seats should go to females and
20% to youth.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.