The “Protest for Bread”, now called the #breadmarch, is a 5 day march that started Wednesday from Yemen’s capital Sana’a to the besieged port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea. Hundreds of activists participated in the 140 mile long march to demand warring parties keep Hodeidah a safe humanitarian zone so that much needed aid can get into the country.
“We walked for 200km under the blazing sun to ask the UN and the international community to fulfill their moral and legal obligations towards us,” they told Hona al-Masirah TV.
Some of the marching protesters were treated for heatstroke, blisters, and exhaustion at the end of their journey when arriving in Hodeidah.
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A human chain is formed on the street leading to the UN building in Sanaa.
Many of them hold banners protesting against British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Trump, reading ‘You are terrorists’.
They are about to march from the Yemeni capital of Sanaa to the port town of Hodeida, in protest to blockades on the port that are preventing foodstuffs from entering the war-torn country.
Currently any goods connected to the government are not allowed through the port, although some NGO and private trader’s products are still entering.
Before the march, dubbed “The March of Bread”, its coordinator Shafie Nasher says:
“The presence of the British and American coalitions and what is called the coalition of aggressors is causing serious damage to the Yemeni people and bloodshed. They do not serve democracy or serve our freedoms or human rights. No one is serving these interests in Yemen. They’ve only created and taken advantage of the famine. Today we are setting out from the port of Hodeida, in order to prove to the world that we oppose the occupation of the port of Hodeida, the only lifeline we have.”
Hundreds of men will continue on foot across the roughly 300 kilometres between the two cities. The march will follow the main roads that connect Sanaa to the port city. It was organised by a group of non-political anti-war activists, mostly youth.
The plan is for the march to arrive in Hodeida within four days and there are planned stops along the road where the walkers will be hosted by a local villagers. Organisers say more people are planning to join the march en-route, through some of the poorer rural villages on the way to the port. They expect to reach Hodeida within four days of walking.
The idea is to oppose closure of the port by the Saudi-led coalition, blocking the main entry for much of the country’s basic supplies and staples.
Recent coalition airstrikes and troops near the western port of Hodeida on the Red Sea have struck fear into the people of Yemen.
Around 70 percent of humanitarian aid, on which 18.5 million civilians depend, comes through this port.
Blocking it, say protesters, would create catastrophe:
“No to genocide, no to famine, no to the targeting and the closing of the port of Hodeida. The Yemeni people have faced a famine, according to reports by the United Nations, but it’s not a naturally-caused famine. It’s at the hands of the United States, Britain, and the Saudi coalition”, says protester Sadiq Abo Shawarib.
Military operations in Yemen are escalating and the humanitarian and economic situation is rapidly deteriorating in the Arab world’s poorest nation, which is on the brink of famine, the UN special envoy for the country Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said on April 30.
Last week Yemeni security and military officials said forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognised president had launched an attack on Shiite rebels around the southeastern port city of Mocha, unleashing heavy fighting that killed some 38 fighters from both sides.
They said the fighting began a day earlier and was supported by the Saudi-led coalition opposing the rebels, known as Houthis.
Military officials said troops loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s next aim was to take the area’s key port at Hodeida.
Some areas of the country face a two-level blockade, one from the Saudi led-coalition countrywide, and another by Houthi authorities in opposition-dominated areas.