Sanaa issues Yemen's Shiites 24-hour ultimatum to end protests in north
Yemen Huthi rebels block the main road leading into Amran city in the north Sunday (Gamal Noman/AFP)
Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen held massive protests outside of the northern city of Amran Sunday after clashes Saturday left 12 people dead, according to Agence France Presse.
The protestors,many of whom were armed, reportedly blocked roads leading into the city and chanted slogans calling for the oust of the governor and regional army chief who they accused of belonging to Yemen's Muslim Brotherhood party, Islah.
A Presidential mediating committee was sent to Amran Sunday "to defuse tensions" with the minority Shiite rebels and further issued a 24-hour ultimatum for them to remove their protest tent and open the road to Amran city.
"If the Huthis have certain demands, those will be carried to the president. We are concerned now about cementing security and stability," said the head of the committee, Ahmed Al Makdissi to AFP.
The Shiite rebels earlier this month also demanded the "sacking of the 'corrupt government'" in Sanaa, echoing earlier calls for the oust of leadership under former president Saleh's rule as well.
The Huthi rebels have been trying to expand their influence in the country in fear that federation plans for Yemen may divide the country into rich and poor areas and thus further marginalize their minority community.