Anti-government riots caused fires in Yemen's Mukalla as public services collapse

Anti-government riots caused fires in Yemen's Mukalla as public services collapse
Anti-government protests in Yemen's port city of Mukalla left government institutions and a school canteen set alight.
2 min read
13 September, 2021
Mukalla and other cities have suffered high prices and power cuts [Getty]

Yemeni city of Mukalla was rocked with unrest after disgruntled residents took part in anti-government protests against the Saudi-backed government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Protesters on Sunday evening were accused of causing fires in the capital city of Hadramawt province after they denounced the deterioration of public services and high prices. These events happened after the Yemeni riyal collapsed against the US dollar. 

Mukalla, as with many other parts of Yemen, experienced long bouts of power cuts while temperatures began to rise in the summer months.

Protesters said vulnerable Yemenis were put at risk, with the elderly and sick falling ill due to the heat, with ACs and fans put out of action due to the power cuts.

Local residents told The New Arab's Arabic language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the protests began in the Al-Salam neighbourhood, old Mukalla, before spreading to the Al-Dis and Al-Mina areas.

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Many commercial warehouses closed their doors on Sunday, out of fear of looting, especially after a number of government headquarters and institutions were set alight.

Al-Mina Secondary School in Mukalla was also set ablaze. A local source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the fire that broke out in the school canteen was quickly dealt with without damage to the rest of the facilities.

Activists accused UAE-backed southern separatists of exploiting popular anger and burning government institutions, although this could not be independently confirmed.