Separatists set off civil disobedience amid political crisis in south Yemen

15:31, April 18, 2011      

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by Murad Al-Awasi, Wang Qiuyun

Tension has been running high in Yemen's southern provinces, especially in the country's economic center Aden, as the situation is further aggravated recently by active separatist Southern Movement and youth activists that call for civil disobedience two days or three days every week.

Most political groups in Aden these days are filled with heated debates about whether a disobedience state or refusing to obey the law can help in increasing pressure on the Yemeni government to reform, or just help in falling the province into the hands of the Southern Movement.

"The widespread of violence and vandalism acts has been witnessed these days in Aden, which is a warning sign that the province is falling into danger," said Khaled Ahmed Bawazir, an associate professor of Political Science of Aden University.

Anti-government protest organizer in Aden Jamal Haidra said the Southern Movement has taken advantage of the destabilization in Aden province to gain a foothold.

"While we call for change in peaceful protests without destruction, the Southern Movement gunmen are wandering the streets and lanes of Aden and setting up checkpoints at the city's entrances, which distort our peaceful demands," said Jamal.

"The alarming presence of the separatists in Aden and their disobedience calls are frightening the locals, especially children and have negatively affected the people's normal lives and activities," he said.

During last several weeks, Aden witnessed arson and looting actions in a number of hotels and police stations, leaving the once-thriving city's ground full of barricades, burnt tires, branches and broken glass.

"We continuously see some armed separatists or radical anti- government protesters turn to attack and set fire at the police stations, hotels and other public places," said Ahmed Hadi, a police officer, "they force others to close stores and pour their anger out on the public and private properties, their behaviors make a lot of bad impacts in inciting violence and sabotage."

Roadblocks are currently in place across Aden. In addition, many schools and malls are closed, and public traffic is severely disrupted. Students have not attended schools for more than two weeks.

"We do not want change along with disobedience and blocking roads, we want our regular lives without being dragged into violence," said a local resident without giving his name.

"Everything is getting worse and complicated now, they ( separatists) deprived our children from studying, and our children 's right is violated," he said.

"Now the markets turned to places for burning tires, smokes, dust, stones and broken things," he added.

As violence escalates in Aden, many uniquely designed buildings as well as natural and historical landmarks also face destructive actions while sporadic gunshots can be heard in some neighborhoods, often at night.

"What would help Yemen to become a better place? Certainly not blocking roads or violence, but perhaps more dedication and concerns over people's lives and taking more reforms," said Hanan Belal, an English language teacher.

"Disobedience is handing the country to the sabotage elements and terrorists, which is very dangerous. We support change but not alongside destruction," she said, "announcing the civil disobedience by the separatist Southern Movement and anti- government protesters in Aden creates a lot of fears."

Source: Xinhua
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