Houthis 'surround parliament' after Yemen president resigns

Houthis 'surround parliament' after Yemen president resigns
Rebel Shia movement says it does not accept Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi's resignation, as MPs prepare to convene in Sanaa to discuss breakdown of state.
2 min read
23 January, 2015
Houhti rebels have refused to leave checkpoints in Sanaa [AFP/Getty]

Houthi fighters have reportedly surrounded Yemen's parliament in Sanaa hours after the president, Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, offered to resign following the Houthi takeover of the capital.

The state news agency Saba said on Friday that parliament would discuss Hadi's resignation on Sunday. Hadi's adviser, Sultan al-Atwani, said an earlier meeting was impossible as MPs would need time to reach Sanaa.

The AFP news agency quoted witnesses as saying Houthi fighters had set up checkpoints around the parliament building late on Thursday and early Friday.

Hadi's resignation was tendered on Thursday evening after Houthi fighters surrounded his residence and took over the presidential palace after apparently rejected a draft constitution that would divide Yemen into six provinces.

Hadi said he could no longer stay in office as the country was in "total deadlock".

The power behind the throne: Abubakr al-Shamahi's on the Houthi's ultimate goals.

Gunmen have also surrounded the houses of top officials including the defence minister, Mahmud al-Subaihi, and the head of intelligence Ali al-Ahmedi, a security official said..

The Houthis, who hail from Yemen's northern highlands, said the current constitution stipulates that Hadi's resignation should be approved by absolute majority in parliament.

"As this has not happened, the resignation remains pending," the militia said in a statement.

The Houthi statement called on supporters to take to the street on Friday afternoon to show their "backing for the revolutionary measures".

Sanna in crisis

At least 35 people have died in heavy fighting over the last week between government forces and Houthi militia.

The situation escalated on Saturday when militiamen seized top presidential aide Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak in an apparent bid to force changes to a draft constitution that would divide Yemen into six federal regions.

The Houthis continue to hold Mubarak and maintain a tight grip on the capital despite a deal struck late on Wednesday to end what authorities called a coup attempt.

In return for concessions in the draft constitution, the Houthis pledged to leave the presidential palace, free Mubarak, withdraw from areas surrounding the residences of Hadi and Bahah, and abandon checkpoints.