Protests continue in Yemen's Aden over currency collapse

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-04 00:58:41|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Protests over sharp devaluation of Yemen's national currency continued in the southern port city of Aden for the second straight day on Monday.

Hundreds of angry protesters staged anti-government demonstrations. They blocked main roads, paralyzing daily life in Aden and its neighboring cities.

Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has lived in exile in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh since 2015, held an emergency meeting on Sunday with the country's Economic Committee to discuss the current situation.

During the meeting, Hadi agreed to an increase in salaries of the civil sector, covering thousands of employees and pensioners.

He ordered the government to take effective and urgent measures to restore food stability and service supply.

According to the Houthi rebel-controlled Saba news agency, Hadi called for resumption of oil and liquefied natural gas exports to bring in foreign currency.

"We know the magnitude of the challenges, the economic impact of the Houthi militia's unrelenting war on the nation and confiscation of foreign cash reserves to finance the war," Hadi said.

"Nevertheless, we are not absolved from stepping up efforts to take tackling measures and start building a new economy right from scratch," he added.

However, pay rise and other measures declared by Hadi's government didn't calm down angry protesters in Aden and other government-controlled provinces. Demonstrations escalated further on Monday following a general strike a day before.

The Yemeni riyal has been sinking faster and faster in recent days after nearly four years of deadly military conflict.

In the street markets in Aden, where the Saudi-backed government is officially based, one U.S. dollar was traded for 623 riyals, up from 215 riyals before the war.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked into a civil war since Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including capital Sanaa, in 2014.

The internal military conflict between Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has entered its fourth year, leading to the world's worst humanitarian crisis.