Thousands march in Yemen to call for cease-fire


SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Friday to call for an end to the fighting in the country’s conflict.

In the city of Taiz, thousands marched after prayers, residents said. The city has been besieged for months by rebels, known as Houthis, who residents and aid groups say have been indiscriminately shelling Taiz and blocking humanitarian aid deliveries.

“We seek to draw the attention of the international community,” said demonstrator Mahyoob al-Khalidi, urging the rebels to adopt a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire. “The resolution is as obvious as the sun: stop the war and have the usurpers withdraw from the cities and hand over their weapons,” he added.

In the city of Zinjibar, residents say hundreds marched to demand the withdrawal of al-Qaida forces.

Residents who spoke on condition of anonymity did so for fear of reprisals.

Yemen has been mired in a conflict pitting the Shiite rebels against the internationally-backed government, allied with a Saudi-led coalition. Militants from al-Qaida and the extremist Islamic State group have taken advantage of the chaos to expand their footprint.

Both sides in the fighting have violated a fragile cease-fire that began April 10.

In fresh violence, gunmen on a motorcycle killed the head of the traffic police in the southern port city of Aden, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief the press.

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