Last updated: 12 December, 2011

Yemen police disperse separatist protest

A Yemeni protester was wounded Monday when police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators demanding a secession of southern regions in the capital of former South Yemen, activists said.

Security forces at dawn stormed a camp of tents that southern separatists erected in Al-Oroud Square in Aden after they met UN envoy Jamal Benomar, activists said.

“Police opened fire at us. One police vehicle hit a protester and injured him,” while security forces tore off the flags of former South Yemen and destroyed the tents, said an activist who requested anonymity.

Nasser al-Nuba, a leading figure in the Southern Movement umbrella group, told AFP that a delegation of the movement met Benomar and demanded the “right of the people of south Yemen to self-determination.”

Benomar played a pivotal role in bringing President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a Gulf-brokered deal last month by which he immediately handed power to his deputy and should quit completely after 90 days.

The exit plan aimed to end months of deadly protests that demanded an end to Saleh’s 33 year in power.

Residents in the formerly independent southern region complain of discrimination by the Sanaa government in the distribution of resources since the union between north and south in 1990.

The south broke away again in 1994, sparking a brief civil war that ended with the region overrun by northern troops.