On the anniversary of a revolution, Yemenis are calling for liberation in unexpected ways

Published October 15th, 2015 - 03:47 GMT
Yemeni protesters take part in a demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of independence from British colonial rule and demand the secession of their formerly independent region, in the southern city of Aden, on Oct. 14, 2015. (AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi)
Yemeni protesters take part in a demonstration to commemorate the anniversary of independence from British colonial rule and demand the secession of their formerly independent region, in the southern city of Aden, on Oct. 14, 2015. (AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi)

October 14th marks the day South Yemen declared a revolution, separating itself from the North as a separate state. And on Wednesday southern Yemenis made calls for secession again — with one notable discrepancy.

Yemen's residents took to Twitter on Wednesday to share photos of a massive rally in the southern port city of Aden, where they waved flags of what was once known as South Yemen.

But social media users were baffled over Yemenis also carrying flags of Saudi Arabia, a country known to be against secession that supported North Yemen's takeover decades ago.

Here's a quick background. On Oct. 14, 1967, southern Yemenis in Aden declared a separate state as the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (also known as South Yemen).

Of course, the independence didn't last long. In 1990 — with the help of Saudi Arabia — the North reclaimed the South. The two sides were unified to create the country presently known as Yemen. 

Today, for many Yemenis ideas of independence and freedom seem to come with the inevitable help of Gulf states, despite human rights organizations' warnings about Saudi Arabia.

It's also important to note former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose loyalists allied with the Houthi rebels, helped command North Yemen in taking over the South. So it's unclear whether the rally called more for secession, a move Saudi Arabia would be strongly against, or more for liberation from the Houthi movement. 

Here's a photo of demonstrators holding up a UAE flag. (AFP/Saleh al-Obeidi)

And here's a photo of forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi attending the rally. (AFP/Ahmad al-Basha)

By Hayat Norimine


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