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Strike in Hadramout meant to expand secessionist pressure.

SANA'A, Dec. 3--The Liberation and Independence Coordinating Committee (LICC) announced on Wednesday a strike and march for government employees and civilians to take place Thursday in Hadramout governorate.

The LICC in Hadramout was created in September as a way to expand the Southern Movement's cause in governorates that were a part of the formerly independent South Yemen..

"This is in line with the Southern Movement's struggle to regain the control of their state," said Ali Abdullah, the spokesperson for the LICC.

Supporters of the Southern Movement, a group encompassing many loosely-aligned southern secessionist factions, have been camping out in the south's largest city, Aden since Oct. 14, demanding that the central government recognize their calls for independence.

The planned strike in Hadramout piggy backs on demonstrations in Aden on Saturday that called for the halt of state oil production in the south and for central government institutions to vacate their branches in the southern governorates. Calls were not headed and government bodies and oil production continue to operate.

The LICC is asking government employees in Hadramout to attend work on Thursday but to refrain from fulfilling their duties from the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

A public relations representative for a labor union in the city of Mukalla, Salem Baduqaidq, announced the union's support for the employee strike. Employees at public schools, universities, health facilities and emergency units within the water and electricty sectors are not being asked to support the strike he said.

Instead the strike will target revenue-generating institutions like the Central Bank, the post office and state-run petroleum companies.

Abu Bakr Ahmad, a finance ministry employee in Mukalla, says he enthusiastically supports the strike. He believes it will send a strong message to the central government that secessionists are serious about their calls for an autonomous southern nation.

"Participating in the strike is a matter of siding with my people's demand to realize independence," he said.

In line with the overall platform of the Southern Movement that espouses non-violent means of protest, the LICC says they also support peaceful civil disobedience.

At protests in Aden on Saturday, one person was fatally shot when security forces opened fire on protesters, according to eye witnesses. Security forces have denied their culpability in the event.

A march for civilians is planned to accompany the brief state-employee strike on Thursday in Hadramout to denounce the violence in Aden.

"Our struggle is peaceful and will remain peaceful," said Ahmad Al-Jawhi, the head of the LICC.

Security forces in Mukalla say they do not plan to intervene with protests as long as the public's interest is not put at risk.

"They are free to protest or hold sit-ins," said Saleh Al-Naqib, Mukalla's security manager. But he said it is "unacceptable" if public facilities are attacked by protesters.

The governor of Hadramout could not be reached for comment on how government facilities would respond to striking employees.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Dec 4, 2014
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