Houthi gangs beat up young protesters in Yemeni capital

Houthi group arrested a number of people in Sanaa on Saturday, following demonstrations over economic hardship. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2018

Houthi gangs beat up young protesters in Yemeni capital

  • Women attacked with electric batons in demo over soaring prices
  • Prices in northern Yemen have soared since the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in a coup in 2014

ADEN/JEDDAH: Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen attacked and detained dozens of young people protesting on Saturday against plunging living standards and rising prices.

At least 55 students, 18 of them women, were arrested during the protests near Sanaa University.

One young woman said female Houthi supporters “attacked us with electric-shock batons and clubs, supported by armed men.

“They beat me until I fell to the ground and I received an electric shock in the back when I stood up again. I wasn’t able to move when they took me to the police station.”

The Houthis had admitted earlier that they would “beat and arrest” anyone taking part in demonstrations in the capital, after local activists called for a mass protest against inflation and food shortages.

The militias said on Saturday they had arrested a “number of people” in Sanaa for disturbing the peace. Those arrested were linked to pro-government forces and “were paid to spread rumors ... and destabilise security,” the Houthi-run Saba news agency said.

Prices in northern Yemen have soared since the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in a coup in 2014. A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been fighting since 2015 to restore it.

Some staple goods have become too expensive for many Yemenis, and the central bank has struggled to pay the public-sector salaries on which many depend as foreign exchange reserves dwindle.

Many Yemenis also rely on international aid, but some agencies — most recently UNICEF, the UN children’s fund — have suspended payments amid allegations that the Houthis are diverting funds to their own supporters while genuinely deserving cases remain destitute. 

Separately, the Foreign Ministry in Bahrain, part of the Saudi-led coalition, said the Houthis had shelled a camp for displaced people near the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Friday, “killing a woman and injuring a large number of civilians.”

(With Reuters)


Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of coronavirus

Updated 10 min 22 sec ago

Egypt to ban Ramadan gatherings to counter spread of coronavirus

  • Egypt will ban any gatherings and public iftars

CAIRO: Egypt will ban any public religious gatherings during the holy Muslim fasting month Ramadan starting in around two weeks to counter the spread of the new coronavirus, a government statement said on Tuesday.
Muslims usually break the fast at sunset together with their families, go to the mosque to pray and spend maximum time with relatives.
But with health experts recommending social distancing measures during the global coronavirus crisis, Egypt will ban any gatherings and public iftars, or fast-breaking meals, as well as collective social activities, the ministry of Islamic endowments said in a statement.
Typically mass iftars are held for poor people.
The ban will also apply to the seclusion of Itikaf when Muslims spend the last 10 days of the month in mosques to pray and meditate, the ministry said.
Egypt has reported more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with more than 250 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Egypt is home to some 100 million people and also the seat of the Al-Azhar university, Egypt’s highest religious authority and one of the world’s most eminent seats of Sunni Muslim learning.
Ramadan will start around April 23 depending on the sighting of the moon marking the start of the month.
Egypt already last month ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers. Prayer calls are broadcast via loudspeakers.