- Houthi official says protests will continue, government did not involve Houthis in the initiative
- Tens of thousands demand revocation of oil subsidy reform, call for a new government
- Official: "We do not agree with the initiative ... and we will stand with the Yemeni people"
Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi dismissed the government Tuesday and agreed to a 15% cut in fuel prices, in addition to other economic reforms, seeking to end weeks of tense protests led by tens of thousands of Houthi loyalists in the capital, Sanaa.
Houthis, also known as "Ansarullah," have rejected the initiative. Houthi representative Mohammed Abdul-Salam announced they will continue protesting in Sanaa and its outskirts since the government did not involve them in the initiative. "We do not agree with the initiative announced by the government committee, and we will stand with the Yemeni people in their call for their rights," he said.
Tens of thousands of Houthi supporters have been rallying for weeks to demand that a recently approved oil subsidy reform be revoked and that the government step down before they agree to lift their tents from Sanaa and the outskirts.
The President's initiative also calls on the Houthis to withdraw fighters from Amran province and an immediate end of clashes in the northern Jawf province.
Ali al-Bukaiti, A top Ansarullah leader, said that Houthi supporters, who follow the Zaidi sect of Islam, will not be tricked by the government's light reforms and that their demands are clear.
On Monday, hours after Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi announced escalating the protests, Hadi sent Sanaa Mayor Abdul-Qadir Hilal to Saada province to give dialogue a final chance. Government committees that held talks with Houthi leaders over the previous two weeks didn't resolve the political tension.
In a televised speech Sunday, al-Houthi said that his supporters would continue to protest and that at the right time, he would announce more stages of escalation.
"The final stage will be the hardest, and we will think of all ways to intensify our struggle and force the government to step down," he said.
For years, Yemen has faced violent battles against Houthi rebels.