Yemen: Thousands of Yemenis gathered Monday in the southern city of Daleh demanding the secession of the formerly independent south which was merged with North Yemen in 1990, witnesses said.
The demonstrators, who are supporters of the separatist Southern Movement, gathered at a stadium to pay tribute to those killed in clashes with authorities since the movement was launched in 2007, witnesses said.
Yemen’s main southern opposition leader, Hassan Baoum, who was released from jail last year, took part in the rally amid cheers from the participants who waved his pictures alongside those of former vice president Ali Salem al-Baid.
The protesters also carried the flags of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, the formerly independent socialist state in the country’s south.
“No unity, no federation. Out, out, colonialism,” the crowds chanted, apparently referring to northerners, particularly businessmen who settled in the south after the 1994 failed secession attempt.
“We assure you that we are with the south and will continue with the struggle to regain it,” Baoum told the crowds. “This is a revolution until victory.”
Southern separatist movements will hold on Sept. 30 the General Southern Movement Conference aimed at unifying the coalition’s ranks.
Some factions of the Southern Movement want autonomy for the south, but more hard-line members are pressing for a return to complete independence.
The coalition, which began in 2007 as a social protest movement of retired officials and soldiers, gradually became more radicalized.
Residents in Yemen’s formerly independent south complain of discrimination by the Sanaa government. The south broke away again in 1994, sparking a brief civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.
Baid, who was vice president of Yemen when he declared independence in 1994, went into exile two months later when northern troops entered Aden, then capital of south Yemen’s formerly independent state.
From: The Daily Star.