Two people died and 10 others were hurt in clashes between Yemeni police and demonstrators protesting against price hikes, opposition sources said on Sunday. According to Reuters, a provincial government source said one man died and several were injured late on Saturday as the police tried to enforce a government ban on unauthorized rallies.
Yemen, the poorest Arab state, banned on Friday demonstrations organized without official permission. The move came after opposition parties held several protests in recent weeks to demand state measures to curb increasing prices of consumer goods.
The government claims the hikes are due to a rise in the prices of commodities such as wheat in global markets. The government has ordered state bodies to import such goods and provide them to citizens at fair prices and ensure that they are not monopolized by local merchants.
It is estimated that almost half of Yemen's 20 million people living below the poverty line, on less than US $2 a day. A recent report by Yemen's Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood (SCMC) claimed that “48.8 per cent of Yemeni families live below the poverty line, and 17.6 per cent of families live with food poverty. Poverty is mainly found among the young, and 53 percent of poor people are children under 15".
Yemen's domestic economy is largely dependent on oil, which accounts for about 85 percent of export earnings and 75 percent of government revenue. Yemen's oil reserves, however, are small in comparison to its larger oil-producing neighbors and in recent years production has been declining.