Students stormed the stage and held banners aloft as former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power gave a speech at John Hopkins University. The protesters condemned her involvement in the US decision to back the war in Yemen.
Power, who served as UN ambassador from 2013-2017, was speaking at the Baltimore campus on Tuesday when a group of students interrupted her speech. The protesters held up banners reading, ‘Samantha Empowers Genocide In Yemen’ and, ‘It’s still Genocide when US allies do it.’
The demonstration forced Power to briefly suspend her address. Despite calls from some in the audience to leave the stage, the eight protesters reportedly stood there silently for almost half an hour while Power renewed her speech. Addressing the demonstrators, Powers said that she would talk about Yemen in the discussion segment of the symposium and would be willing to meet with the protesters afterward.
The US has supported the Saudi-led war in Yemen which has resulted in the deaths of around 6,000 people since it began in March 2015, according to UN figures. It has caused a massive humanitarian crisis, including a cholera outbreak which has affected more than 1 million people.
“Today we’re talking about a country where almost 18 million people need some sort of humanitarian aid – be it medical aid, access to food, access to proper clean water. This is a situation right now,” Ralph El Hage, ICRC Public Relations for the Near and Middle East, previously told RT about the ongoing crisis. “Unfortunately, food and medicine prices have really increased to an unattainable extent, where people are unable to buy their basic necessities. This was primarily due to the blockade that was imposed on the country.”
Saudi Arabia’s intervention, including the bombing of civilian targets, has been roundly criticized by humanitarian organizations. The UK has also been condemned for supplying Riyadh with advanced weaponry which have been used on Yemenis.
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