Dozens of Yemeni students rallied in the capital’s main university to protest against the presence of armed rebels on their campus.

Students from different colleges gathered on Thursday in front of the gate of Sanaa University and marched around a number of colleges, holding placards and banners that read "No to Armed Militias”, and "the university is not a place for guns".

The organisers of the protests called for "the swift withdrawal of Houthi rebels from campus, ending the military presence and preserving the civil nature of the university," according to a statement quoted by the Anadulu news agency.

Since the Shia Houthi movement’s capture of the capital on September 21, some of its fighters took positions on the university campus.  

Local news website Yemen Press said calls for protests have increased over the past weeks "in light of the increased violations against students committed by the Houthi group".

The website said that the fighters had kidnapped several students while threatening others.

The Houthis, whose stronghold is in Yemen's northern highlands, have imposed informal control of government ministries in Sanaa since they took over the capital.

Yemen has been gripped by political turmoil since mass protests in 2011 forced its long-serving president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down. 

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies