“Some separatists thought that Saleh’s downfall would immediately result in the South’s independence”
The separatist movement that took hold in the region splintered during the popular uprising. One faction was drawn to the protest movement, adopting the exact same anti-government slogans used by Yemenis in the North. They held former President Ali Abdullah Saleh responsible for the civil war between the North and South in 1994. There were also some who also thought that Saleh’s downfall would immediately result in the South’s independence. But not all of the country’s young revolutionaries support the idea of an independent south. To the contrary, the majority are against secession and stick to rhetoric on ‘reform’.
“The separatist movement does not represent those who live in the South
The South was where Yemen’s anti-government protest movement really kicked off. You have to remember that the first victim of the uprising against Saleh was in Aden. I was at the very first demonstration and I can tell you that there wasn’t a single flag representing the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen [pre-reunification South Yemen]. Of course there were separatists at the protests, but they’re demands were the same as those of the anti-government protesters – liberty, equality, justice… Six months later, leaders of Yemen’s Southern movement said that the protests were going nowhere, and abandoned the cause to resume calling for independence.