Protesters outside the New York City office of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand demand Congress take action to stop US support for the devastating war in Yemen, Ben Norton reports
CROWD: Yemen can’t wait! Schumer! Yemen can’t wait! Schumer!
BEN NORTON: Protesters gathered outside the New York City office of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday, January 26th, calling on Congress to take action to end the joint US-Saudi war on Yemen.
SPEAKER: I came out here to urge Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Chuck Schumer to basically end the war and to encourage the US to end all its military support for Saudi Arabia as well.
SPEAKER: There is a portion of the electorate that has gathered. That has gathered to support some of the poorest people on the planet. Voted to blossom, voted to being by an illicit, and not only illicit, bombing campaign. So, we call upon Schumer and Gillibrand to make it stop. To come to aid of people of Yemen.
BEN NORTON: Yemeni activists demanded that the United States stop backing the Saudi military and instead push for international peace negotiations.
SPEAKER: I wanna start out by thanking all our allies that are out here from all of the groups. By simply hearing from people who are of Yemeni descent to share with you what is actually happening in Yemen, by making sure our country, the United States, and all of the UN countries come together and make sure that peace comes to Yemen.
BEN NORTON: Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has waged a catastrophic war in Yemen, with weapons fuel, intelligence and military assistance from the United States. The US-backed Saudi coalition has relentlessly bombed civilian areas and besieged millions of innocent people in Yemen. In an attempt to defeat the powerful rebel movement Ansar Allah known popularly as the Houthis. This war has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, leading to deaths of countless Yemenis including more than 100,000 children who have died from preventable causes.
CROWD: Shame, shame, shame…! Shame, shame, shame…!
SPEAKER: We must come together to end the internal and external war that continues to deteriorate and dismantle the future of the average Yemeni citizen and their families. Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, let Yemen live! Let Yemen live! Let Yemen live!
SPEAKER: I’m out here to support Yemen because it is as we heard today the number one humanitarian issue. And it’s not just any humanitarian disaster, it’s man made and it is aided by the United States. We’re complicit, you know. And this isn’t something we can just blame on the people in power. The people in power in this country are accountable to us, we are the constituency, we are the ones who vote them, and we are the ones who put them in power. So, it is everyone’s responsibility. Every taxpayer’s responsibility to stop this humanitarian crisis because everything that is happening is preventable. There is nothing natural about this. It’s all man made and it’s all aided by the United States, and it’s honestly ridiculous. Obviously, anyone with a moral compass would want to take action on this issue but there is so many financial and economic aspects, the military industrial complex. It’s all up to us, it’s not really up to them.
SPEAKER: The UN also reports that…people need urgent assistance to protect the safety and dignity of their basic rights. As you all know, because of the bombing, the airports are not functionable, hospitals are not functionable, everything that you can think of that you need to have a basic life is not in place in Yemen. People travel miles and miles by foot to get to a hospital because the roads have been devastated. So, it is critical that we work at making sure to get the blockade removed.
BEN NORTON: Protesters also link the war in Yemen to a variety of other issues, including the invasion of Iraq and US support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.
SPEAKER: Black or white or poor or indigenous. Is that dollar used to spend on a bomb better suited for that bomb, or could it house a homeless person that you walk by every night?
SPEAKER: And that is what we have to think of as people of faith or no faith. That’s when you have to look at your own moral conscience and make changes within yourself because your liberation is directly tied to their liberation. And this world is becoming a very small place. And just like Yemen was there for my people 30 years ago, when we were on top of the world, Iraq was the most sophisticated country 30 years ago, and we have been bombed back to the Dark Ages, and Yemen took us in. Yemen gave us back our dignity.
SPEAKER: I know for a fact that this is all connected. Saudi Arabia, Israel, United States, they’re like these super powers in the world that are contributing to death and destruction all across the globe and also within our own communities. So, I take all of these things to be interconnected and I think we need to come together as people who believe in justice, people who believe in a better world that we need to connect all of our struggles and fight for justice everywhere.
BEN NORTON: Reporting for The Real News Network, I’m Ben Norton.