Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in capital Sana'a on Sunday (9 October) to demonstrate against air strikes that targeted a funeral hall killing more than 140 people on Saturday. Protesters gathered outside the UN headquarters and demanded an independent investigation into the air raids reportedly carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

Some of the demonstrators blamed the UN for not ending the conflict and demanded an independent investigation into the air strikes.

Saudi Arabia has so far denied the accusations, but said that it would launch an investigation into "reports about the regrettable and painful bombing" in Sana'a. It added, "The coalition confirms that its troops have clear instructions not to target populated areas and to avoid civilians."

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Any deliberate attack against civilians is utterly unacceptable," and noted that those responsible for the attack will be held responsible.

Saturday's air raids targeted the funeral of the father of Houthi-appointed Interior Minister Gawal al-Rawishan wherein more than 500 people were injured. According to media reports, the bombing is the latest in a series of strikes by the Saudi-led coalition that were launched on hospitals, markets and places frequented by civilians.

Houthi leader Abdul Malek denounced the air strikes saying that US weapons were used in the attack and alleged that Washington had given the "green light" to carry out the attack. Further, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Houthi rebel group, urged the people to attack soldiers on the Saudi border in retaliation. The rebel group is also fighting the internationally recognised government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

According to the UN, at least 3,800 civilians have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition began its offensive in March 2015. The report said that the coalition air raids are responsible for 60% of civilian deaths.

Yemen funeral
The site of the air strike which witnesses said was carried out by Saudi-led coalition aircraft on mourners at a hall where a wake for the father of Jalal al-Roweishan, the interior minister of Houthi-dominated Yemeni government, was being held REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah