Middle East

Supporters of Yemen’s Houthis protest outside US embassy

US designation of Houthi rebels as terrorist organization will go into effect on Jan. 19

Supporters of Yemen’s Houthis protest outside US embassy Supporters of Yemen's Huthi movement raise their fists up as they chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the closed US Embassy in the capital Sanaa on January 18, 2021, to reject outgoing US President Donald Trump's decision to designate the Huthi group a "foreign terrorist organisation". - Impoverished Yemen is mired in a devastating conflict between Iran-backed Huthi rebels and government forces backed by Saudi Arabia that has left tens of thousands dead and sparked a dire humanitarian crisis. ( Mohammed Hamoud - Anadolu Agency )

SANA'A, Yemen

Hundreds of supporters of Yemen’s Houthi rebels staged a demonstration Monday in front of the US embassy in the capital Sana’a against Washington’s decision to designate the group as a foreign terrorist organization. 

The demonstrators held banners denouncing the US move. They also accused the US of "killing the Yemenis" since the start of the war in the country. 

Some of the demonstrators tore the American flag while others trampled it with their feet and raised the well-known Houthi slogan "Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam." 

The US embassy has been closed since the war in Yemen began in early 2015. 

Late on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his plan to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization and mark three group leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists -- Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, Abdul Malik al-Houthi and Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a. 

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains. 

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.  

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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