Sana’a: A number of young activists recently organised a silent protest in the port city of Mukalla to voice opposition to drone strikes in the drone-hit province of Hadramout, southeastern Yemen.
The province has recently become the scene of deadly US drone strikes that ostensibly target Al Qaida operatives.
In the protest, staged as a silent play, young men dressed in black, to symbolise US secret agents, combed an area searching for militants. As they identified the location of the operatives, a dummy drone hovered over the area and killed the people, including some civilians. The other protesters stood silent to represent the unheard voices of drone strike victims.
“We want to say that drones fight terrorism with another [form of] terrorism,” said Mohammad Bawazer, the co-organiser of the protest.
“We are against [extrajudicial] killings by anyone including assassinations of security officers and US drone strikes. Even if the targeted people were Al Qaida-affiliates, they must be prosecuted in court.”
Bawazer said that that idea was the brainchild of a friend who suggested that they get together to arrange a new silent vigil but this time against extrajudicial killings by US drones.
“We spent YR120,000 (Dh2,070) on costumes and the dummy drone. We were determined to make the dummy an exact replica of the real drone by searching in the internet about how a drone looks like.”
The secondary school graduate said that his team received some financial support from a local NGO and a businessman.
The continuing extensive drone missions in Yemen has become a hot-button issue. Despite wide grass-roots opposition to the strikes, Yemen president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi trumpeted them as a safe and accurate way to dislodge Al Qaida.