YEMEN

Riots in Yemen… wherever that is

At least four people were killed on Sunday (Jan. 13) in Aden, south Yemen, during confrontations between police and protesters. Didn't you hear? Or is it more a case of never having heard anything about a country which, despite being a neighbour of Saudi Arabia, is counted among the poorest in the world. François-Xavier Trégan, one of our Observers in the country's capital Sanaa, explains the origins of the conflict.

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At least four people were killed on Sunday (Jan. 13) in Aden, south Yemen, during confrontations between police and protesters. Didn't you hear? Or is it more a case of never having heard anything about a country which, despite being a neighbour of Saudi Arabia, is counted among the poorest in the world.

François-Xavier Trégan, one of our Observers in the country's capital Sanaa, explains the origins of the conflict.

It was only in 1990 that the north and south of the country was reunited. Today's protesters are soldiers from the old southern army, who were kicked out in 1994 after the north claimed victory in the civil war. The soldiers were eventually allowed to return, but some moan about not being able to reinstate the army, while others demand renewed pensions. The opposition movement has regained strength through protest. They condemn economic inequalities between the country's two regions, as well as the authority held by the government.

Sunday's violent demonstrations left at least four dead and many more injured. Nobody accepts responsibility: the protesters blame anti-riot forces for opening fire; the authorities say they were provoked by the protesters. Although lacking in numbers, anti-establishment slogans may well have fuelled the fire. The unity of the country is once again in question."

The demonstrations began peacefully

Video posted on YouTube by 'adenhell', 14 January 2008

But the protesters were later dispersed - with bullets

Video posted on YouTube by 'adenhell', 13 January 2008