Hundreds of thousands of people have held a demonstration in Yemen to renew their calls for the secession of the southern parts of the Arab country and establishment of an independent state.
The protesters marched along the streets in the city of Aden, situated 346 kilometers (214 miles) south of the capital, Sana’a, on Tuesday to mark the 51st anniversary of the South’s revolt against British colonial rule.
The demonstrators also waved flags of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, and held pictures of former South Yemen president, Ali Salim al-Beidh.
The pro-independence Southern Movement has called for further protests in Aden, the capital of former South Yemen, as well as in the city of Mukalla.
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.
In February, the Yemeni government disclosed a plan to divide the Arab country into six regions.
Politicians in southern Yemen are opposed to the plan. They say four provinces in the north would have more power than the two in the south.
The idea of creating a federal system has been a part of Yemen’s political transition, as the country is still reeling from the popular uprising that forced longtime dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office in February 2012.
Yemen’s southern residents complain that they have been economically and politically marginalized by the central government in Sana’a.