Southern Movement protesters clash with security forces [Archives:2009/1226/Front Page]

January 19 2009

Ali Saeed, Fouad Mused & Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf
ADEN, DHALE & LAHJ, Jan 18 ) Southern Movement demonstrators have been clashing with security forces in the governorates of Lahj, Aden, and Al-Dhale for almost a week.

The movement is spearheaded by former military officers from the South, the Military Retirees Coordination Council (MRCC), who demand equal opportunity for Southerners.

One hour after dispersing the protestors in Al-Dhale, a security vehicle was attacked by a grenade which caused at least six injured soldiers. As a reaction the police opened fire randomly and killed a citizen passing by, while another ten were wounded.

“Suddenly I heard the explosion and within seconds the police were shooting in every direction. They thought they were being attacked by an army,” said one of the injured citizens.

In Aden, the police broke up the protest in the Al-Sheikh Othman district with tear gas for the second day since the protest started. The protesters were demanding the release of the detainees that the police had arrested on the first day of the demonstration, which was held to marked the 14th anniversary of the 1994 capture of Aden by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's northern military forces, ending a bloody two-month civil war, and to commemorate the third anniversary of the establishment of reconciliation and tolerance groups in the South.

During the demonstration, a policeman fired at the protesters wounding four, one of whom is in critical condition. The injured were transferred to the Al-Naqeeb hospital in the district of Al-Mansora.

The police surrounded the city of Aden to prevent people from the governorates of Al-Dhale, Abyan, and Lahj from entering the city until their identities were checked. The security forces have forbidden people from gathering in front of police stations or in front of the hospital where the injured are being treated.

In Al-Dhale, protesters blocked the Al-Dhale-Aden road in protest against the security using force against participants in the Tuesday morning demonstrations. The police in the governorate broke up the protestors.

In the Radfan district in Lahj,angry protestors set fire in military vehicle causing armed clashes, which occurred between the police and armed groups who had been blocking the Sana'a Aden for six days in order to force the government to release the detainees of the South Movement. The road is blocked until writing this news.

The fight led to the injuring of tens from both sides. Tentative reports said that two army cars six army each containing six army men were attacked, each vehicle containing six soldiers. According to the local people, six of the soldiers were injured while the other six were taken as hostages.

Haidra Haitham, Head of Security in the Radfan district, denied that some of the policemen were captured by armed groups.

“Clashes continued for one hour and half between security personnel and the citizens of the district and resulted in the burning of a military vehicle and some injured from both sides,” he said.