Last updated: 27 April, 2014

Southerners rally for secession 20 years after Yemen war

Thousands of Yemenis rallied in the port city of Mukalla on Sunday to demand statehood for the formerly independent south 20 years after the crushing of a secession bid.

The rally was organised by the hardline wing of the Southern Movement which is clamouring for the renewed independence of the south, 20 years after a civil war ended with its occupation by northern troops.

The separatists rejected plans unveiled in February for six-unit federation in which two regions are planned for the south, one based in Mukalla and the other in the largest southern city, Aden, where a pro-independence rally also took place on Sunday.

The south was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and its union with the north in 1990.

A secession attempt four years later sparked a brief but bloody civil war that ended with northern forces occupying the region.

“This rally is a message addressed to the world saying that the south is under occupation,” said activist Basser Bakazkuz.

In Aden, police prevented protesters from reaching a main square in the city’s diplomatic district, witnesses said.