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BBC English World Service Radio: Security forces in Yemen have opened fire on protesters in the Southern port city of Aden, killing at least four people and wounding many others.

Posted by FREE ADEN on February 22, 2013

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Demonstrators are calling for more autonomy for the South of the country on the one year anniversary of the uncontested election of President Mansur Hadi. Out of all the revolutions in the Arab world the UN Security Council regards Yemen as a rare success story.  The Gulf Cooperation Council negotiated for President Abdullah Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for thirty-three years, to step down from power.  Elections were held this time last year and President Mansur Hadi was voted in.  But some Yemenis, especially those in the south, feel as if little has changed and are critical that President Hadi was the sole candidate on the ballot.  Thousands of Southern Yemenis wanting more autonomy or independence from the North, have converged on Aden, in regular protests that have been growing since the revolution.  But rival unity protests are also being held today by supporters of the President.  They are being organised by a dominant party in the ruling coalition government, the Islamist Islah party.  Dozens were wounded ten days ago when the rival rallies clashed and security forces opened fire.   Amnesty International has urged the Yemeni authorities to end what it calls the routine violent repression of freedom of assembly.  Calls from the South for independence are not new.  South Yemen was a former British colony and later a socialist secular state and was not united with the North till 1990.  Many in the South feel they’ve been disenfranchised for decades and after the pro democracy uprising they’ve had more space to protest.  But with the recent killings and the arrest of two prominent leaders of the Southern Movement on Wednesday, some fear a return to repression.

By: BBC English World Service Radio

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