Houthi militiamen raided a coffee shop in the Burj al-Salam Hotel in the Old City of Sanaa and arrested two of its employees because the cafe allows for men and women customers; a mixed-gender environment.
This is not the first time Houthis have attacked cafés in Sanaa with previous raids on coffee shops named "Bon and Qishr" and "Moon Café," attacking mixed-gender customers.
Ali al-Qabatti, one of the customers present when the Houthis raided a coffee shop in the past, told Al Arabiya.net that when the Houthis stormed the café, he objected to their behavior so they arrested him because he was wearing a necklace and jeans.
Qabatti added that they told him he was "spreading infidelity," and later released him after signing a pledge not to go to coffee shops again.
Cafes in Yemen have become gathering places for artists and social workers but the Houthis accuse those who go to cafes of delaying the “divine victory” they seek to accomplish.
Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi has repeatedly warned of the “phenomenon” of men and women mixing thus allowing his supporters to harass people and blackmail shop owners. English language centers, for instance, were accused of allowing mixing between the genders and of doing intelligence work for the US.
Houthi militiamen storm mixed-gender hotel café in Yemen’s Sanaa