Yemenis protest against rising cost of living as riyal plunges
Escalating crisis is putting bottled water and food staples out of reach
Hundreds of Yemenis staged a protest in Aden Sunday against the rising cost of living in their war-ravaged country, which has seen its currency plunge against the US dollar.
The government has failed to to pay salaries for over a year, and the riyal has lost more than two-thirds of its value against the dollar since 2015, when the Saudi Arabia-led coalition joined the government’s campaign against the Huthi insurgents, AFP reported.
The economic downturn, exacerbated by a blockade on the insurgent-held international airport and ports, has made food staples and bottled water unaffordable for many Yemenis.
In Aden, a southern province that now serves as the government’s de facto capital, protesters burned tires and blocked main roads.
“We are out to demand a stop to the depreciation of the riyal and to the cause of high costs and lack of basic commodities,” Nasser Awad, a protester, told AFP.
“The government is busy with divvying up government jobs and naming people to posts, and we are suffering from the war.”
In January, Saudi Arabia – the chief main ally of beleagured President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi – announced a $2 billion bailout to help sustain the central bank.
The riyal briefly rose in January but has since plunged by 36%.
In 2016, more than one million civil servants were laid off when Hadi moved the official central bank from Sanaa, the country’s capital, to Aden.
The insugents run their own central bank in the capital, which they have controlled since 2014.