Leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement says anti-government protests will continue in the capital Sana’a as people demonstrate for the fourth consecutive day to force the Yemeni government to resign.
“We will continue our pressure and legitimate movement as we have not yet reached a clear and sufficient response to our demands,” Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said in a speech late on Thursday.
He also called on Yemenis to gather for Friday prayers on the road to Sana’a International Airport.
Houthi insisted that the movement will employ “peaceful, civilized and legitimate means,” urging President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed to “not fall into the trap of attacking people and protesters.”
On Wednesday, Hadi called for dialogue with Houthis and invited representatives to join a “unity government.”
But the protests, fuelled by a steep increase in petrol prices, are gaining momentum with demonstrators showing no signs of backing down.
On Sunday, Houthi said Yemeni authorities must meet the protesters’ grievances by the end of the week or additional forms of “legitimate action” would be taken.
More than 50 percent of around 25 million population of the impoverished country live below the poverty line, according to official figures.
Over the recent months, Yemen has been experiencing a severe energy crisis, including frequent power cuts and fuel shortages.
Yemen’s Houthi movement draws its name from the tribe of its founding leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.
The Shia fighters blame the government for the political, economic, and religious marginalization of the country’s Shia community and violating their civil rights.
The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down in February 2012.