Protesting Yemen rebels reject presidential overture

Photo: Protesting Yemen rebels reject presidential overture
 / Arab World

Yemeni Shiite rebels and activists took to the streets of Sanaa Wednesday to reject a presidential overture to replace the government and reduce a disputed fuel price hike, AFP reported.

Faced with increased pressure from the Houthi rebels and a deepening political crisis, President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi announced the measures Tuesday.

But the rebels, camped inside and outside Sanaa, rejected the initiative and Wednesday hundreds blocked main roads inside the capital after calls to protest sent through local radio.

Security forces cordoned off roads leading to the government headquarters.

The presidential initiative stipulates naming a new prime minister within a week and reducing a recent fuel price hike, two demands of the rebels who accuse the government of corruption.

The rebels' spokesman, Mohammad Abdul-Salam, dismissed the initiative as an attempt to "skirt around the demands of the Yemeni people," writing on his Facebook page that the rebels "do not agree to it."

The initiative comes after Zaidi Shiite rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi Sunday urged supporters to press on with a campaign in Sanaa to oust the government.

Zaidi fighters have been camped around the capital for the past two weeks and held protests throughout much of August to push for the government's resignation.

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

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