Embassy Closures, New Protests as Yemen Falls Into 'State of Chaos'

Several Western nations have closed their embassies in Yemen this week and thousands took part in protests amid continuing unrest in the impoverished country.

The developments follow the announcement last week by Houthi rebels that they had assumed control and last month’s resignation of President Abed Mansour Hadi and his cabinet.

The Intercept described the country as now being “in a state of chaos,” with its capital looking “less like a city governed by new leaders, and more like a neighborhood taken over by a rival gang.”

U.S. officials said Tuesday its embassy in Sanaa was closing; the UK announced Wednesday it was closing its embassy, while France announced its facility’s closure would happen on Friday.

Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said after the closure was announced, “We continue to have the capability—unilaterally if need be—of conducting counter-terrorism operations inside Yemen.”

Meanwhile, large protests against the takeover by the anti-American, anti-al Qaeda group took place in Sanaa and Taiz as well as other cities on Wednesday. CNN reports there being resistance to the rebels “particularly in the south, where there’s a long-running secessionist movement, and in the oil-rich province of Marib to the east of Sanaa.”

Agence France-Presse reports that “the militiamen [Houthis] fired warning shots and used batons and daggers to disperse several hundred protesters rallying against them, wounding at least four people, organizers and witnesses said.”

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