Three people in Yemen were wounded during raging protests over chronic power outages in the southern port city of Aden on Tuesday evening, residents and local media said, with the event threatening to shatter months of tranquility in the key city.
For the second consecutive night, angry demonstrators blocked roads and set fire to car tires after power outages reached a record high of more than 19 hours per day.
In an effort to unblock roads, local security forces opened fire on the demonstrators, wounding three people.
A statement by the security services of Aden expressed support for demonstrators’ demands for improved power services but warned against sabotage of the city’s public infrastructure.
Aden remained without power for the majority of the day, according to the state-run Aden Electricity Cooperation, because 80 percent of the city’s power facilities were out of service due to a fuel shortage amid sweltering heat and high humidity.
Over the past eight years, Aden, Yemen’s interim capital and the seat of the internationally recognized government, has been plagued by deteriorating services, primarily electricity, and has been the site of intermittent violent clashes between Yemeni factions.
Residents of Aden have complained that the power outages have made living in the city unbearable. Many people, primarily the elderly and the ill, have died due to heat and humidity.
While some Aden residents took to the streets, others vented their frustrations over deteriorating services on social media.
“Aden is experiencing the worst times in its history. The power outages have lasted for more than nine hours and it is still out, and the weather is extremely hot,” Adel Babeki, a resident, said on Facebook.
In response to criticism for failing to provide regular fuel shipments to Aden’s power stations, the Yemeni government previously said that it was spending $55 million per month to generate electricity in the city, accounting for 60 percent of all state electricity expenditures in government-controlled regions of the country.