Activists mark Yemeni revolution in Istanbul as brutal fight rages on
by Anadolu Agency
ISTANBULFeb 11, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Feb 11, 2016 12:00 am
Prominent Arab activists met in Istanbul on Thursday to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Yemen's revolution, as a brutal conflict continues to rage in the Middle Eastern country between Yemeni government forces and the Shia Houthi militia.
Speakers at the event, which was organized by the Peaceful Revolution Youth Council, included Nobel peace prize winner Tawakkol Karman, prominent Egyptian opposition leader Ayman Nour and Turkey-based Syrian interim government PM Ahmad Touma.
The event also featured a recorded video message by former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, who was the first democratically elected president in the Arab world.
Marzouki said he was proud of the Yemeni people for their continued resistance following the revolution.
"Victory of the Yemeni revolution is also a victory for the Arab people," he said.
Meanwhile, Karman said that the revolution and democracy "cannot be achieved at the same time."
She added that the "revolutionary stage" is ongoing and did not end after the ousting of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh or other presidents who were removed from power during the Arab Spring.
"We are facing a strong counter-revolution that is complete, strong and backed by a detestable military coup, as well as a regional and international conspiracy," Karman said.
Yemen has remained in turmoil since September 2014, when the Shiite Houthi group and allied forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country, forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring Hadi's government.
According to the UN, more than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen -- about half of them civilians -- since the Saudi-led coalition first began its air campaign in March of last year.