Thousands rally in S.Yemen for independence.
Separatists in south Yemen used the anniversary of an uprising against colonial power Britain to press their claim for independence on Wednesday, while President Ali Abdullah Saleh promised to crush rebels in the north.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to demand a breakaway state, as they celebrated the anniversary of an anti-British uprising in the 1960s. Bearing flags of the former southern republic, the demonstrators in Al-Habilayn, Lahej province, criticized Sanaa's policies on the impoverished south, where residents complain of economic and political discrimination.
Veteran ruler Saleh is facing two challenges to his rule from Zaidi Shiite Muslims in the north who have been in rebellion against central authority since 2004 and southerners of the former South Yemen.
Both complain of political and economic marginalization by government and the Zaidis also say they are persecuted by Sunni Muslim radicals who have gained in influence.
"We promise you that victory is coming soon," Saleh told a rally in Sanaa also marking the uprising in 1963 against Britain in the southern port city of Aden.
"They are the forces of backwardness because they have forgotten the past when there were no schools, hospitals or electricity," he said, describing unity of north and south Yemen in 1990 as the southern revolution's greatest gain.
The conflict in the north has intensified since the army unleashed Operation Scorched Earth on Aug. 11. Aid groups, who have been given limited access to the northern provinces, say up to 150,000 people have fled their homes.
Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)|
|Date:||Oct 13, 2009|
|Previous Article:||UN calls for investigation of Gaza war crimes.|
|Next Article:||Islam linked to human rights: Iran Nobel winner.|