The extraordinary presence of Houthi gunmen in the streets suggests that the group may fear popular revolt amid regional protests
Houthis clamp down on security in conjunction with anniversary of ex-President Saleh
Cities under Houthi control are witnessing unprecedented security, coinciding with the anniversary of December 2, 2017, when fighting broke out between military forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi movement. The two groups forged a temporary alliance to seize control of Sanaa from the internationally recognized government in 2014.
The Houthis killed Saleh two years ago today after he called for a popular uprising against them. Saleh’s body has yet to be found.
Eyewitnesses in Sana’a liken the security developments to an undeclared state of emergency, which may signal that the Houthis fear popular revolt amid calls to celebrate the December 2 uprising.
Witnesses told Almasdar Online that three days ago the Houthis deployed fighters throughout the capital and its surrounding areas, noting an extraordinary presence of Houthi gunmen scattered throughout the streets in residential and non-residential neighborhoods. It is believed they are there to monitor the movements of citizens and regularly report security developments.
The Houthis have urged neighborhood staff and district managers to cooperate and facilitate their movements and provide them with information about the residents of their neighborhoods and areas, according to local sources. The Houthis are reportedly fearful that demonstrations could erupt in Sana'a and other areas under their control.
The outbreak of anti-corruption and economic demonstrations in Iraq, Iran and Lebanon have contributed to Houthi paranoia of popular revolt in Yemen, where economic conditions and public services in rebel-controlled areas remain dismal.