State violence continues in Yemen: two protesters killed by police
In the continuing cycle of violence in southern Yemen, police opened fire at a hospital, killing one and wounding six. Another person was killed later in a separate incident.
The latest deaths occurred today when a group of southern activists attempted to retrieve the corpse of a protester killed February 2. Police guards at Ibn Khaldun hospital in the town of Hutah opened fire on the group, wounding seven. Abdullah Muhammad Al-Baqery, 45, died of his injuries.
Police used live ammunition and tear gas to disburse the crowds that swelled with news of the al Baqery’s death. Saeed Abdullah Alcaoui was killed by police. Five protesters were arrested.
Hutah is in Lahj governorate, a hotbed of the independence movement in south Yemen. The Al Hirak movement is calling for the dissolution of the unified state. About 70% of southerners favor independence. The southern governorates witnessed escalating protests since 2007, often triggered by arbitrary arrests and violence against the unarmed protesters.
The arrests of journalists who report on the unrest are another trigger for clashes. Public outrage at the closure of al Ayyam newspaper in May was dwarfed by the outpouring when its editors were arrested.
Hashim Bashraheel, 68, and his two sons Mohammed and Hani were arrested in January. Amnesty International has repeatedly warned that the trio is at high risk for torture. Journalist Mohammed al Maqaleh was brought to court Sunday after four months of torture including beatings and mock executions.