Houthi rebels defy UN, rally in Sanaa

Army and police officers loyal to the Houthi rebels demonstrate near the Cabinet’s headquarters to demand for the resignation of the government in Sanaa, on Monday. Photo: Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

Sanaa: Tens of thousands of Houthi rebel activists demonstrated in the Yemeni capital on Monday heeding a call by their leader to press their campaign to oust the government in defiance of the UN.

The show of strength by the Zaidi rebels caused traffic jams on several major roads in Sanaa, an AFP correspondent reported.

In a speech late on Sunday, rebel leader Abdulmalik Al Houthi called on supporters who have been manning armed protest camps in the capital for the past week to continue their campaign to topple the national unity government, from which the rebels are excluded.

Supporting corruption

Houthi slammed a demand by the UN Security Council on Friday for the camps to be dismantled and for the rebels to pull back from areas they have occupied in recent months.

He accused the council, which threatened sanctions against groups blocking the political transition in impoverished Yemen, of "supporting corruption and backing policies that lead to further poverty."

The rebels have been campaigning since early August for the national unity government to be replaced and for unpopular austerity policies it has adopted, including a sharp rise in fuel prices, to be reversed.

They are demanding a broader political partnership.

Houthi urged his supporters to continue their protests "until the end of this week, and we might start with new actions next week," which could include civil disobedience.

Analysts say the rebels are trying to establish themselves as the dominant political force in the northern highlands, where the Zaidis are the majority community.


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