Yemeni Houthis celebrate 'Friday of victory'

Thousands rally to celebrate, days after Houthi Shia rebels seized most of the capital Sanaa.

    Rebels hailed the day as the 'Friday of victory' [EPA]
    Rebels hailed the day as the 'Friday of victory' [EPA]

    Thousands of supporters of Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen have taken to the streets to celebrate their first Friday since taking control of much of the capital, Sanaa.

    Houthi rebels, who have besieged Sanaa for a month, seized key state installations earlier this week without any resistance.

    Armed Houthis hailed the day as the "Friday of victory', and took over many mosques in the capital.

    An Al Jazeera correspondent reporting from Sanaa said there were no signs of security forces and military troops where the Houthis rallied.

    The correspondent said the rebels had reached within close proximity to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s residence, although it was believed that Hadi had already moved out of it.

    The president on Friday urged rebels to pull out of Sanaa, accusing them of breaching a UN-brokered peace accord.

    An agreement to end the fighting was mediated by UN envoy Jamal Benomar and signed on Sunday, shortly after the rebels took control of most of the city.

    "The legitimate way to implement this agreement is to recognise the state's authority over the whole country, especially Sanaa," Hadi said in an address to the nation.

    'Acts of vengeance'

    "All installations and stolen weapons should be handed" back to the authorities, the president said, after the rebels seized scores of tanks and armoured vehicles from army bases that they stormed.

    "Settling accounts by force and acts of vengeance will not build a state," Hadi said, addressing the rebels who had organised protests demanding the dismissal of the government which they accused of corruption.

    "Does fighting corruption and state-building come through pillaging houses, miliary bases and government institutions?" asked the president.

    A security protocol to the accord would have required the rebels to hand over the institutions they seized and to start dismantling their armed protest camps in and around Sanaa once a new prime minister is named. 

    But rebel representatives refused to sign it. 

    Hadi has so far failed to name a new prime minister, although the latest agreement stipulated that one should have been appointed by Wednesday. 

    He has already appointed two advisers, one representing the rebels, and another for southern separatists, as required under the peace deal.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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