Police shoot medics in Aden, Yemen
Pro-democracy demonstrations are continuing today in Yemen marking the 12th day of protests in small state on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Yesterday students gained control of the square in Sana’a University and began setting up tents and checkpoints to keep out hired goons. Protesters in Taiz remain in the city center there and protests sprung up in other governorates.
The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been in power since 1978. last week Saleh announced he would not be running for president again, a pledge made before in 1999 and 2006. Yesterday at a news conference, Saleh said, “If they want me to quit, I will only leave through the ballot box,” a clear contradiction.
In the port city of Aden, foreign workers are packing up and violence continues. Five have been killed by police in the last week, the latest was yesterday. In the Khormaksar district in Aden, one person was killed and four wounded by security forces. Medics trying to retrieve the wounded were shot at with live rounds. Video can be viewed on youtube here.
Protests in South Yemen have been ongoing since 2007 when a secessionist movement was born. Over one hundred were killed and hundreds more wounded as police regularly shot at unarmed protesters, Human Rights Watch found in a 2009 report that noted,
The security forces, and Central Security in particular, have carried out widespread abuses in the south—unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings, crackdowns on freedom of assembly and speech, arrests of journalists, and others. These abuses have created a climate of fear, but have also increased bitterness and alienation among southerners, who say the north economically exploits and politically marginalizes them. The security forces have enjoyed impunity for unlawful attacks against southerners, increasing pro-secessionist sentiments in the south and plunging the country into an escalating spiral of repression, protests, and more repression.
Yemeni authorites indicated a belief that violence toward citizens in Southern Yemen would not provoke unrest in the northern areas because some southerners seek secession, however protesters in Taiz and Sanaa have expressed solidarity with the protesters under live fire in Aden.
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