At least 50 people were killed in clashes between Yemeni soldiers and Houthi rebels in the northern province of Jawf, after the most recent protests, which began Friday, turned violent, Al Jazeera reported Saturday.
Hundreds of protesters, both in support of and against the beleaguered Yemeni government, had assembled in Jawf since Friday, when fighting broke out between the members of the two camps.
“As many as 30 Houthi militants were killed in fierce clashes with army troops backed by armed tribesmen in Al-Gheil directorate since Friday night,” a local government official told reporters. Twenty people from the army and the pro-government groups were also reportedly killed in the ensuing clashes.
Jawf province is strategically important as it is located near Maarib province, which is the center of the country's oil production.
The capital city of Sanaa also witnessed large-scale protests on Friday and Saturday when hundreds of thousands rallied in support of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government, in the largest such rally since the start of the standoff in April.
The crowd chanted slogans in support of Hadi and denounced rival protests led by Abdul Malik al-Houthi -- a Zaidi Shia rebel leader -- that have crippled the capital for the last several weeks.
The Shia Houthi rebels, who maintain a stronghold in the northern province of Saada, rejected overtures from Hadi earlier this week and have called for the dissolution of the government, which they accuse of widespread corruption, in favor of a more representative one.
Houthi leaders also called for an escalation of protests in and around Sanaa and urged their supporters to start a civil disobedience movement by joining in new protests on Sunday and Monday to build pressure on the government, Al Jazeera reported.
Yemen has been in the grips of an internal conflict for more than three years. President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled for over two decades, was forced from power in February 2012 after a deadly uprising in which the Houthi rebels played a crucial role.