South Yemen Marches For Independence

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Pic credit: Ahmed Shihab Alqadi. He tweets at @ahmedalqadi001

Summer Ahmed, southern Yemeni writer who has earlier worled with UN Women. Summer tweets at @samwrax

Tens of thousands of southern Yemenis marched in Aden today to commemorate the tenth anniversary since the peaceful Southern Movement was established on 7/7/2007 and to remember the day South Yemen lost the civil war that broke out between North Yemen and South Yemen in the summer of 1994.

North Yemen and South Yemen were two separate countries then united in 1990 to make up what is called the Republic of Yemen today. It wasn’t a happy union from the beginning. President Saleh and his allies the Muslim Brotherhood (Islah) immediately started marginalizing southerners. After failed negations between the southern and northern blocks, the former president of South Yemen who was the Vice President of the new Republic of Yemen left the capital Sanaa to Aden in protest that the unity agreement signed between south and north Yemen is not being honored by his northern partners. On April 27, 1994 President Saleh declared war on South Yemen and a bloody civil war ensued. The war lasted almost three months ending on 7/7/1994 but its effects are still present today. Southerners never forgot the horror and devastation of that war and they commemorate that fateful day every year on 7/7. The day when Aden fell and since then north Yemeni forces implemented a brutal occupation of southern Yemen.

Today’s protests are different though as they hold a different significance. Southerners have a representative body called the Southern Transitional Council, something they have yearned for and struggled to establish since the launch of the Southern Movement. The Southern Transitional Council was set up on May 4th of this year. The council has popular support and seeks to start the process of secession of South Yemen from North Yemen.

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