Tens of thousands of Yemenis protested in the capital Sana’a Saturday to mark the anniversary of the country’s ongoing war between Houthi rebels and pro-government allies.
Pro-government allies, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have been fighting in a war with Houthi rebels who ousted the government of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi last year.
The protest is considered the biggest one since the 2011 demonstrations that toppled former president Ali Abdallah Saleh, who is now an ally of the Houthis.
During his participation in the protest, Saleh said he wants peace with Saudi Arabia without the intervention of the UN, which “failed to solve anything”.
UN-backed peace talks between the two warring parties are scheduled to take place next month.
The UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh said last week that the two sides agreed to start a ceasefire on 10 April, followed by peace talks in Kuwait.
The Houthis held a different demonstration Saturday, prior to which Houthi leader Abdel-Malek Al-Houthi said Friday that he hopes the peace talks can end the war.
“We hope that efforts to end the aggression will be successful, it is in the interest, and a demand, of our people,” Abdel-Malek Al-Houthi said in a televised speech .”If those efforts do not succeed, we are ready to make sacrifices…it is important to confront aggression if it continues.”
“Islamic State” (IS) claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Friday in the Yemeni city of Aden, killing 26 after a car bomb exploded targeting a check point run by pro-Yemeni government forces.
The attack targeted the Saudi-led coalition, which reclaimed Aden from the Houthis in July 2015.