Thousands of Yemenis rally in Aden for independence

Published May 22nd, 2014 - 02:06 GMT

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Yemen’s southern city of Aden to renew their calls for the independence of the southern parts of the country.

The protesters rallied in Mualla neighborhood on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of a secession bid that was crushed by northern troops.

They waved the flags of formerly independent south and pictures of exiled leader Ali Salem al-Baid.

They also shouted anti-Sana’a slogans, such as "We swear to God Sana’a will not govern us," and "Twenty years of oppression and resistance." 

The rally was organized by the separatist Southern Movement and senior leaders of the former South Yemen.

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 transform the Arab country into a state of 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.

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