British ambassador to Iran arrested amid protests against Khamenei over plane downing

A group of Iranian protesters demanded Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down on Saturday. (Screenshot/Twitter)
Short Url
Updated 12 January 2020

British ambassador to Iran arrested amid protests against Khamenei over plane downing

  • Videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting
  • Protesters demanded stepping down after Ukrainian plane incident

TEHRAN: The British ambassador to Iran was arrested on Saturday amid protests demanding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei step down after Tehran said its military had mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian plane, killing 176 people.

Robert Macaire was present during demonstrations in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir University and was arrested after allegedly “inciting” a crowd, Iran's Tasnim news agency reported.




Robert Macaire was detained for several hours, according to reports.(UK Government)

The 53-year-old was released after several hours.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the arrest was without grounds or explanation and a "flagrant violation of international law."

Videos posted on Twitter showed hundreds of people chanting “Commander-in-chief (Khamenei) resign, resign”  in front of Tehran’s Amir Kabir university.

 

 

In a message to the protesters, Donald Trump said the US was following the demonstrations closely and was "inspired by your courage."

"To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you." he said on Twitter.

Iran announced Saturday that its military “unintentionally” shot down the jetliner, after the government had repeatedly denied Western accusations that it was responsible.

The plane was shot down early Wednesday, hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

No one was wounded in the attack on the bases.


Eritrean navy urged to free dozens of Yemeni fishermen from custody

Fishermen work on their boats in the southern city of Aden, Yemen, in this file photo taken on March 18, 2015. (AP)
Updated 07 June 2020

Eritrean navy urged to free dozens of Yemeni fishermen from custody

  • Naval attacks getting more brazen, say Yemenis

AL-MUKALLA: There have been calls for Eritrea to release dozens of Yemeni fishermen who were caught last week after sailing into a maritime flashpoint.

On Wednesday 15 armed boats from Eritrea’s navy seized 120 Yemeni fishermen from the Red Sea between Hanish Islands and the coast of Khokha.

Eritrea briefly occupied the Hanish Islands in 1995 before retreating after the international arbitration court granted Yemen sovereignty over them. But Yemeni authorities complain that the Eritreans have attacked and seized hundreds of Yemeni fishermen over the last couple of years.

The most recent incursion triggered a brief clash with the Yemeni coastguards that ended with the capture of seven Eritreans, local security officials said. On Thursday the Eritreans released 62 Yemeni fishermen after confiscating their boats.

“We demand all concerned authorities to work on releasing our colleagues and their boats that are in Eritrea’s custody,” Khaled Al-Zarnouqi, the head of Yemen’s Shabab Al- Khokha fishery association, told Arab News on Saturday. “We demand the international community, the (Saudi-led) coalition and the (Yemeni) government to protect us from the repeated attacks by Eritrea’s navy that violates Yemeni sovereignty, attacks Yemeni fishermen and seizes boats.”

Hashem, one of the fishermen who was released on Thursday, said that armed Eritrean vessels approached their boats on Tuesday and asked them to sail to Eritrea’s Ras Tarma.

“They were tough,” Hashem told Arab News, preferring to be identified by his first name. “Before releasing us, they gave us little fuel and rickety boats and asked us to sail back home.”

NUMBER

120 Yemeni fishermen were captured by Eritrea’s navy on Wednesday from the Red Sea between Hanish Islands and the coast of Khokha.

The Eritreans refused to release their boats. “Each boat costs YER2.5 million ($9,987). They seized the finest and most expensive boats and allowed us to sail back with the worst ones.”

Local security officials and fishermen say that Eritrea’s naval attacks have become more brazen and are getting closer to the Yemeni coastline.

“They have attacked Yemeni fishermen less than 17 miles from the Yemeni coastline,” a local security official who documents Eritrea’s navy attacks on Yemeni fishermen told Arab News. “The Eritreans are also still holding 24 fishermen who were detained in the Red Sea on Dec. 1, 2019 and refuse to release them,” he said, adding that many fishermen were thinking of taking up arms to protect themselves.

Yemen’s coast guard authority crumbled in early 2015 when the Iran-backed Houthis expanded across Yemen after taking over Sanaa, triggering heavy clashes with their opponents.

Since the beginning of its military operations in Yemen in support of the internationally- recognized government, the Saudi-led coalition has trained and armed hundreds of coast guard troops and deployed them along the country’s coastline.

Yemeni officials say they are battling Eritrea’s navy attacks, Houthi arms' smugglers and drug gangs.