On Tuesday, an angry crowd stormed into the Maashiq Presidential Palace, located in Yemen’s southern city of Aden which is the temporary capital of the internationally recognized government of the war-torn country. The main motivations were poor living conditions, lack of services, and a dramatic decrease in the value of the local currency. Among the protesters, there were retired soldiers who could not get their salaries for more than nine months, the local sources said. Also, it is stated that the crowd did not encounter any resistance from forces that are loyal to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC). Even there were some who were carrying the STC’s flags, the witnesses said.
It is also reported that the Saudi forces guarding the palace evacuated members of the cabinet, including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, to a facility belonging to the army located near the palace when the demonstrations erupted. Arriving at the scene shortly after the incident, Aden’s police chief, General Mutaher al-Shuaibi, negotiated with demonstrators to persuade them to leave peacefully. Then, the crowd peacefully dispersed.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, issued a statement strongly condemning the incident. The importance of implementing the Riyadh Agreement, which was signed between the Yemeni government and the STC, was highlighted in the statement. The statement also called the parties to urgently meet in Riyadh to discuss the complete implementation of the agreement.
A similar incident occurred in Yemen’s eastern city of Sayoun in Hadramout Province. Many people broke into a governmental building to protest worsening living conditions and dramatic increases in prices. It is reported that government forces fired the gun into the air to disperse the crowds that set car tires up on fire in the streets. Upon this incident, the STC issued a statement denouncing the government forces’ response towards the demonstrators.