Two protesters were killed and 12 people wounded, including three police, as a separatist march in the southern Yemeni city of Aden turned into a gunbattle on Saturday, police and opposition sources said.
The demonstration was staged in the Mansura quarter of the port city to commemorate the day in 1994 when northern troops seized the south after a brief rebellion, and the shooting carried on for much of the day.
“The police opened fire on the march, killing a demonstrator and wounding three others,” one of whom later died, said Southern Movement activist Nizar Saidi.
A hospital source confirmed the death and said seven demonstrators were wounded in an exchange of gunfire. Police said armed protesters fired first and that three policemen were wounded.
“The police arrested 25 activists including Yahia Saleh Said, deputy head of the Southern Movement’s superior council,” activist Ghassan al-Shuwaibi told AFP.
The Southern Movement, which complains that the region has been marginalised by the central government in Sanaa, is demanding autonomy, or even independence. Southern Yemen was a separate nation before 1990.
There were also clashes in Sayun in Hadramawt province, militants said, without giving any details on casualties.
In Mukalla, the provincial capital, residents reported most shops and businesses stayed closed on Saturday as a general strike was observed.