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Anti-election riot erupts in southern Yemen before presidential polls, dozens injured (2)

(Xinhua)

08:59, February 21, 2012

Yemeni people participate in a rally, demanding all the Yemeni people to participate in the upcoming presidential elections, in Sanaa, Feb. 20, 2012. Yemen's one-candidate presidential election campaign, as part of a UN-backed power transfer deal to ease the 33-year ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, out of office, is scheduled on Feb. 21. (Xinhua/Mohammed)

"Polling stations are blockaded now by gunmen," a local security source said.

In the southern al-Dhalea province, a police officer said that pro-separatism gunmen attacked a security checkpoint, leaving at least six soldiers injured before fleeing the scene.

"The security post was ambushed this afternoon by gunmen trying to derail the presidential election," an officer at the checkpoint said.

The Yemeni authorities have tightened security measures in Aden and restive southern regions, where secessionists are calling for a boycott of Tuesday's one-candidate presidential election, by deploying a large number of army troops backed by dozens of armored vehicles across the province, according to local residents.

Earlier in the day, explosions rocked several polling stations in the southern port city of Aden, followed by shootouts between security forces and pro-separatism gunmen, killing at least one policeman and injuring five others, security officers told Xinhua.

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