Armed men raided Coffee Corner last week, expelling customers from the social hub of Yemen’s artists, activists, students and young professionals
Houthis raid, shutter popular coffee shop in Sana’a without reason
Houthi authorities shut down Coffee Corner, a popular coffee shop, nestled in the upscale Haddah area of Yemen’s capital Sana'a after storming its premises last week.
The café's management apologized to customers for the building’s abrupt closure in a statement which read, “Al-Wehda district authority in Sana’a forcibly closed the café building on Tuesday at 10 a.m. without any justification or legal reason."
Eyewitnesses said that armed men raided the café and expelled all customers in a provocative manner.
The management appealed to the authorities to control the illegal behavior which is interfering with the running of the business.
Coffee Corner became a cultural melting pot for Yemen’s liberal elite, artists, activists, students and young professionals in the country’s capital.
Even in times of conflict, the shop retained its status as a social mecca, drawing thousands of customers despite challenges with the internet and electricity.
This isn’t the first time the Houthis have shut down coffee shops in Sana’a. Since overtaking the capital in September 2014, the rebels have raided several coffee establishments to restrict gender mixing, and as a consequence of businesses’ failure to pay increased taxes.