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Yemen on high alert as rebels push to overthrow government

Published: August 21, 2014
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Source: DW

Tens of thousands of Shiite rebel supporters are in the capital Sanaa in a bid to topple the government. Thousands of armed rebels strengthened their position on Wednesday as they pressed on with their campaign.

Led by heavily armed Shiite rebels, thousands of demonstrators are demanding the government step down by the end of the week. Rebel commander Abdulmalik al-Huthi said the authorities must meet protesters' grievances by the end of the week, or additional forms of "legitimate action" would take place.

According to reports, rebel militias were deploying on rooftops in parts of the capital and armed rebel convoys were entering the capital and setting up checkpoints. Military officials said forces were on standby in case of an attack.

The protests were sparked by a steep rise in gas prices - due to a government stop to fuel subsidies. The demonstrations are gaining in strength as supporters continue to join the anti-government camps. On Wednesday, men armed with Kalashnikovs were seen guarding walled camps set up by the demonstrators.

In the northwestern province of al-Jouf, a local reporter told the German press agency (dpa) that at least 20 militants had been killed in clashes with police that began on Wednesday night.

"Both sides are using heavy and medium weapons in the fighting that is still going on," he told dpa via telephone.

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