Yemenis have marked the sixth anniversary of the start of an uprising that ended three decades of rule by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Saturday declared February 11 the country’s National Day, marking the beginning of the Youth Revolution against Saleh’s rule.
A statement issued by the civil service ministry said it had been decided that February 11 would be an official holiday for all state institutions.
However, six years after the start of the uprising, hopes of change in the Arabian Peninsula country have been destroyed by sectarian divisions and a long-running conflict.
“I couldn’t have been more proud of the revolution we launched,” said Afnan Qaid Alyousufi, an activist from Taiz, in western Yemen.
“Freedom is so precious that we have to continue the fight. The reason why instability continues is that because the world has betrayed us.”
On Friday, the UN refugee agency said tens of thousands of people had been displaced by fighting along Yemen’s western coastline.
William Spindler, UNHCR spokesperson, said 34,000 people fled their homes after fierce fighting erupted in the port towns of Mokha and Dhubab on the Red Sea.
The majority of the displaced were headed to the outskirts of Taiz, he said.
Yemeni forces, allied with the Hadi government that is backed by a coalition of mostly Gulf states, have recently seized Mokha and plan to push northward.
For his part, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi fighters announced on Friday that his forces have built drones and missiles that will be used against the Arab coalition and would target the Saudi capital.
In a speech aired on Al Masirah TV, Abdel Malik al-Houthi offered no evidence or figures for the number of drones and missiles allegedly manufactured by the rebels but the UAE, which is part of the coalition, has recently accused the Iran of providing the Houthis with drones.
The speech also followed a Houthi claim earlier in the week that they targeted Riyadh with missiles.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia but a week ago, it said a “suicide gunboat” belonging to the Houthis rammed into one of its frigates in the Red Sea, killing two crew members.