Separatists in southern Yemen vow to escalate protests


Separatists in southern Yemen demanding the establishment of an independent state have pledged to intensify protests for secession.

The Supreme Council of the Revolutionary Peaceful Movement for the Liberation and Independence of the South on Thursday called for demonstrations on the “Friday of Anger.”

The recent wave of the separatist movement in southern Yemen has been centered in al-Arood Square in central Aden, the capital of the formerly independent South Yemen.

Pro-secession demonstrations began on October 14 with protesters setting up tent camps in the city. Demonstrators say the sit-in for independence will be indefinite.

The pro-independence coalition has urged those southerners working for the government not to go to work and take part in the protests instead.

Many people reportedly return to the protest camp, which has around 120 tents, after work every day.

North and South Yemen unified in 1990 after the southern government collapsed. However, four years later the south tried to break away and this led to a civil war. The conflict ended with northern troops taking control of the south after winning the war.

The Southern Movement gained strength during mass demonstrations that forced former dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down in February 2012.

The secessionist movement calls for autonomy or the complete independence of the south. Southern residents complain that they have been economically and politically marginalized by the central government.

In February, the separatists, as well as Shia Houthis, dismissed a proposal for Yemen to become a six-region federation.

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