More Aden Protests from Ex-DRY Military

New military protests in Aden over the weekend. Protesting soldiers are a lot more worrisome to the regime then socialists in Taiz. Understandably, Saleh can’t give them back their jobs because he doesn’t want to have southerners in the military during a time of political instablity…especially if it costs him any northern support at all. Meanwhile, the GPC line is that these protesters don’t represent “real pentioned” ex-military personnel and are only using the former soldiers cause for political purposes. The governor of Aden, Ahmed al-Kuhlani,  said that “Many of the retired have expressed their appreciation for the president’s care for their situations.”

Sana’a: Hundreds of riot police fired bullets and tear gas yesterday to disperse thousands of retired officers and soldiers in southern Yemen who were demanding to be allowed back into the military, police and protesters said.

The demonstration, which was the second of its kind in the past month, underlined increasing tensions between southern and northern Yemen 13 years after a civil war. The protesters were largely members of the army of south Yemen who were ousted after being defeated by northern forces.

The Yemeni government deployed dozens of armoured vehicles yesterday and sealed off several roads in the southern port city of Aden where the protest was taking place, said a police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The security measures were intended to prevent additional people from joining the demonstration. During the first protest in early August, one person was reportedly killed and some 1,000 arrested when thousands of demonstrators marching toward downtown Aden clashed with police.

Recruitment woes

The government said it had responded to the former military personnel’s demands by allowing more than 7,000 of them back into the army, but Abdu Al Muatari, the spokesman for the retired officers, called the move only a partial solution.

“Protests will continue until all demands are met,” Al Muatari told The Associated Press. “We want to feel that we are
citizens and partners and not followers.”

Protesters have complained that the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh is ignoring complaints by southerners of discrimination at the hands of the northerner-dominated leadership.

North and South Yemen were united in 1990, with Saleh — who had been the north’s president — remaining in his post.
In 1994, rebels announced the secession of the south, and battled northern forces for several months in a civil war that ended in their defeat. [a rather sparse synopsis to say the least]

Afterwards, about 60,000 southern servicemen were discharged from the army, and many of them fled abroad.
Most have since returned, attracted by amnesty and promises they would be allowed to re-enlist.

But many have not been allowed back into the military, which is dominated by northerners.

At the same time, southerners complain that they are kept out of government jobs — a main source of employment in the south — in favour of northerners brought in to fill the bureaucracy and security forces.

Northerners also continue to hold large tracts of land in the south granted to them after the civil war. – AP

…… – The governor of Aden and chairman of the local council Ahmed al-Kuhlani valued Saturday the high understanding of the retired of the governorate in their response to the press release of their retired military colleagues represented in the committees working with the committees of the ministries of interior and defence and not listening to a suspicious group that wants to involve them in political issues and to be used as political card for dishonest purposes.

The governor affirmed that by virtue of cooperation by all residents of the economic capital Aden [“Economic capital,” Hah!] the people movement was normal all over the districts of the governorate on Saturday. He emphasised that demonstrations and sit-in are a legitimate constitutional right regulated by the law of marches and demonstrations, adding that all realize that the law has controls and mechanism for practicing that right. As a local authority there is n objection for any political party or a civil society organisation to organise any activity or stage a demonstration but should apply to the concerned authority in the governorate which in turn are committed to deal legally with the application and provide necessary protection to the licensed activity.

The governor thanked branches of some political parties in the governorate that presented legal requests for holding their activities in previous periods and were granted licenses. He pointed out that the group that wanted to commit chaotic acts in the name of the retired military men does not represent any real pensioned who has presented his grievance and the government responded positively to their complaints in line with directives of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Governor al-Kuhlani pointed out that the committees have settled conditions of a large portion of according to the law. He said the remaining complaints and legal dues will be dealt with in batches and will be published in the media tools. He said” Many of the retired have expressed their appreciation for the president’s care for their situations that have been settled and have expressed their disregard to some limited groups possessing political aims serving their own interests, Aden security forces have previously seized a group of those and they confessed of their acts against the law. The president has however ordered that they should be set free.” – al Motamar


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