Yemen moves to clear rebel sit-in blocking airport

Yemeni security forces on Sunday moved to break up a sit-in held by Shiite rebels blocking the capital's airport road, using water cannons, bulldozers and tear gas, security officials and witnesses said.

Sanna: Yemeni security forces on Sunday moved to break up a sit-in held by Shiite rebels blocking the capital's airport road, using water cannons, bulldozers and tear gas, security officials and witnesses said.

The rebels had earlier escalated their weekslong anti-government protests by moving to the road leading to the strategic airport, setting up tents near the Communications Ministry and blocking traffic into Sanaa from the south and west.

Security officials said protesters pelted the troops with rocks. One eye witness said protesters commandeered a bulldozer, a water cannon truck and an armored vehicle from security forces.

The witness said one protester snatched a machine gun from one of the soldiers on an armored vehicle near the Interior Ministry, also on the airport road.

Other sit-ins remain in place around the capital near several government ministries.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

The Shiite rebels, known as Hawthis, have been camping out for nearly three weeks in Sanaa, demanding the government resign and reinstate fuel subsidies.

But when Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi dismissed his Cabinet on Tuesday and promised to appoint a new premier within a week in a move to offer concessions, the rebels' only escalated protests.

Fuel prices nearly doubled after the subsidy cuts, but the reaction on the street was limited when it was announced in July. Opponents say the Hawthis are using the issue as a cover and are really just want to seize power.

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