Sanaa: Hundreds of armed Houthi rebels staged sit-ins on Tuesday on the outskirts of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, where supporters are mobilising in a campaign for the fall of the government by Friday.
Activists in the Ansarullah, or Huthi, rebellion put up dozens of tents at the western edge of Sanaa.
Guarded by hordes of armed men, other rebels were busy erecting similar camps in the north and south of the city, AFP journalists reported.
Around 5,000 men arrived in the capital from Saada province, traditional stronghold of the Ansarullah rebellion.
Fall of government
Rebel leader AbdulMalik Huthi on Sunday ordered his followers to march on Sanaa to bring about "the fall of the government, which has failed."
He set the authorities a deadline of Friday before other forms of "lawful" action will start. He gave no details.
Huthi's supporters are opposing a recent sharp increase in petrol prices, which have a major impact on household budgets in the impoverished country.
Tens of thousands of Houthi rebels demonstrated in Sanaa city centre on Monday. The programme of protests will go on until Friday and "we will not yield", a rebel told AFP.
"President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi should listen to the voice of the people, or we will overthrow this corrupt government which has starved the people," the militant said as he took part in one of the rebel sit-ins.
Security forces have stepped up their presence at the western edge of Sanaa.
"We have been charged with ensuring safety and preventing armed groups from entering Sanaa,"
Abdulghani Tajeddin, commander of a local unit, said.