Thousands of Yemenis stage biggest anti-Houthi protest in Sanaa

Followers of the Houthi movement march during a demonstrate to show support for the Shiite movement's uprising, which resulted them taking control of Sanaa, in the Yemeni capital on Jan 23, 2015. Yemen faced a dangerous power vacuum after its preside
Followers of the Houthi movement march during a demonstrate to show support for the Shiite movement's uprising, which resulted them taking control of Sanaa, in the Yemeni capital on Jan 23, 2015. Yemen faced a dangerous power vacuum after its president announced his resignation over a deadly standoff with Shiite militia controlling the capital and lawmakers called an emergency weekend session. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SANAA (Reuters) - Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Saturday in the biggest demonstration yet against the Houthi group that dominates Yemen, two days after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's resignation left the country in political limbo.

Witnesses said up to 10,000 people began marching from Sanaa University towards Hadi's home some 3 km away, repeating chants denouncing both the Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group and predominantly Sunni al Qaeda.

"Long live the Yemeni people. No to Houthis and no to Affash," the crowd shouted, using a nickname for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was toppled in a 2011 uprising against his 33-year-rule.

Saleh had been cited by the UN Security Council for aiding the Houthis to capture Sanaa, capital of the predominantly Sunni country, in September.

Hadi, who stepped down on Thursday, blamed the Houthis'control of Sanaa for scuttling his attempt to steer Yemen toward stability after years of turmoil, tribal unrest, deepening poverty and US drone strikes on Sunni Islamist militants.

The Houthis virtually held Hadi prisoner at his home residence this week. They accuse him of reneging on a power-sharing agreement they signed with the country's main political parties in his presence after they seized Sanaa.

"We came out today to reject the coup and against the Houthi militia's control of the capital," said one student who identified herself as Maimouna, holding a placard which rejects plans to incorporate the Houthi fighters into the army.

Houthi fighters and police made no attempt to obstruct the protest, witnesses said.

On Friday, thousands of Houthi supporters gathered in Sanaa with placards calling for "Death to America, Death to Israel", a slogan that has become the group's trademark.

The Yemeni parliament is scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss Hadi's resignation. Under the constitution, parliamentary speaker Yahya al-Ra'i, who comes from Saleh's General People's Congress party, takes office for an interim period while new elections are organised.