(STRIPES) — SANAA, Yemen — The United States, Britain and France moved to close their embassies in Yemen on Wednesday, increasing the isolation of Shiite rebels who have seized power. In a show of bravado against the Americans, the rebels seized the cars of U.S. diplomats left at the airport on the way out.
At the same time, the rebels - known as the Houthis - attacked demonstrators holding protests against their power grab in various parts of the capital, Sanaa, witnesses said. The fighters beat protesters and stabbed them with knives, arrested more than a dozen.
The increasing turmoil comes almost four years to the day since the start of Yemen's 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ousted the longtime autocratic ruler but then opened a political transition that crumbled between the country's grinding forces of tribal politics, sectarian divisions, al-Qaida militancy and succession movements.
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