Embassies in Yemen close as thousands protest militia rule

February 11, 2015 13:22

SANAA - The United States, Britain and France closed their embassies in Yemen over security fears as the takeover of the country by a Shi'ite Muslim militia group threatened all-out civil war.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the central city of Taiz on Wednesday and hundreds more in the capital Sanaa in the largest protests yet against the Houthi movement, which overran Sanaa in September and formally took power last week.

The United States stopped work at its embassy and withdrew its diplomatic staff on Tuesday.

"Recent unilateral actions disrupted the political transition process in Yemen, creating the risk that renewed violence would threaten Yemenis and the diplomatic community in Sanaa," US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

France and Britain followed suit on Wednesday, while employees of the German embassy said its mission was also getting rid of sensitive documents and would soon close.

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