Houthi authorities arrest ‘largely peaceful’ demonstrators in Yemen

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Amnesty International said that Houthi authorities had arrested a “alarming number” of people following a demonstration on Friday in Yemen. The demonstration was held to commemorate the 26th anniversary of Yemen’s September Revolution, and those taking part were said to be peacefully “exercising their right to freedom of assembly.”

During the demonstration, which remembered the establishment of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962, protestors in Sana’a, Ibb and Houdeidah took the Yemeni Republic flags out onto the streets in celebration. However, according to reports given to Amnesty International, some demonstrators were attacked by de facto Houthi authorities, who “violently confiscated their flags.” One Yemeni lawyer reported to Amnesty International that Houthi supporters shouted slogans and “threw rocks” at demonstrators.

Amnesty International condemned the actions of the Houthi authorities in response to the peaceful protest. Amnesty International, a human rights organization that has documented the Houthi authorities’ “repressive tactics” to suppress freedom of expression since 2015, calls for all those who have been arrested to be freed “immediately, unconditionally, and without charge.” This repressive crackdown shows the extent to which Huthi defacto authorities will go in order to suppress free expression in areas they control. The conflict has caused widespread civilian damage and numerous violations of international human right. According to the UN, 80% of the population needs humanitarian assistance.