Houthis join protests in north Yemen
Yemeni protesters in Sana'a, Yemen, demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, February 21.
Large crowds of Houthis have joined pro-democracy protests in northern Yemen as a wave of demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh enters its 10th day.
The Shia Houthis have long been at odds with Sana'a, blaming the Sunni-dominated government for discrimination against the country's Shia minority.
The ongoing protests come less than two years after the Yemeni army launched a joint massive military operation in August 2009 with the Saudi military against Houthi fighters in the northern province of Sa'ada.
Abdul Malik al-Houthi, who leads the Yemeni Shia community, has announced that Houthis would support pro-democracy protesters who demand change.
He said in a speech on the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that Houthis support the right of people to change the regime and praised popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.
On Monday, a number of opposition lawmakers along with groups of Yemeni students also joined a protest near a university campus in Sana'a.
The protesters are demanding that Saleh to step down, but the Yemeni head of state says he will quit only if defeated at polls.
Meanwhile, Yemeni police shot dead a protester and wounded four others in the southern port city of Aden.
At least 22 protesters have so far been killed by government loyalists in the unrest across Yemen.
Yemeni clerics have issued a statement prohibiting the use of force against protesters.
They called the violence a crime and called for a ban on arbitrary detention and torture.