A Monologue of Blood and Bullets Precedes Yemen's National Dialogue

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi finally payed a long overdue visit to Aden on Sunday evening, February 24, after four days of ongoing bloody clashes, which erupted between police and pro-independence demonstrators on Thursday [February 21] and which resulted in many deaths and injuries. It is worth noting that this is his first visit to any city in Yemen outside the capital Sanaa, since becoming president on February 27, 2012.

Journalist Adam Baron commented on Twitter:

@adammbaron: worth noting? hadi visited the US, saudi, other gulf states, etc, as president before visiting aden. still, key gesture. #yemen

Police arrests of southern separatists leaders came a day ahead of planned rival rallies to mark the first anniversary of the uncontested election of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi which ended Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule, following a year-long deadly uprising.

A protester holding a sign that reads in Arabic "unity or death is a bloody slogan and a separatist speech."

A protester holding a sign that reads in Arabic “unity or death is a bloody slogan and a separatist speech.”

Supporters and opponents of Hadi, himself a southerner, have said they will hold rival rallies on Thursday, prompting fears of possible clashes in Aden. The Islamist Al Islah (reform) Party called for a pro-Hadi rally in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, where separatist calling for autonomy also had planned to hold an independence rally, on the same day and in the same square.

Alaa Isam tweeted:

@AlaaIsam:Cautious movement in the streets of #Aden…All expectant of something bad is about to happen. let us hope not, May Lord save it. #Yemen #yf

#Photo show the celebrating of Islah Party in #Aden #SouthYemen #Yemen #yf @hrw pic.twitter.com/gn7XddOV7Y

Pro-Hadi rally in Aden organized by Islah party and escorted by security forces

Pro-Hadi rally in Aden organized by Islah party and escorted by security forces

Atiaf Alwazir warned:

those who are calling for a pro-Hadi rally in #Aden are instigating & provoking an already tense situation! #Yemen

Nasser Arrabyee tweeted:

@narrabyee: Islah ignited a war n south by insisting on holding the rally of Feb 21, all southerners froze thier membership in dialogue, Dr Saleh Basura

He added:

@narrabyee: Deaths and injuries in unprecedented showdown between Islamists supported by army and angry and frustrated separatists in Aden south Yemen.

@narrabyee: 7 killed& more than 50 injured n today's clashes between Islamists,helped by army, & separatists n Crater& Khormakser of Aden south Yemen.

This video uploaded on Youtube by Kala'at al Shomookh (قلعة الشموخ) shows Yemeni CSF forces attacking southerners during the commemoration of Dignity day in Kraiter, Aden:

Will Picard tweeted:

@YemenPeaceNews: Official report from Southern Observatory for Human Rights says 9 killed and 53 wounded by security forces in #Aden on 2/21. #Yemen

Morooj Alwazir added:

@Rooj129: A bloody Thursday for #Aden #Yemen photos & summary http://www.adentribune.com/?p=676

“The Yemeni authorities must end the routine violent repression of freedom of assembly,” Amnesty International said in a warning statement issued late Wednesday. It added: “Yemeni security forces have acted in contravention of international human rights standards by opening fire on peaceful pro-secession protesters today in the south, resulting in four deaths and dozens of injured” on Thursday.

As a result dozens of separatists took to the streets on Saturday, blocking roads and burning tyres, in the districts of Khor Maksar, Mualla, Shaikh Osman and Dar Saad early on Saturday, amid calls for civil disobedience to protest against the February 21 massacre, which led to further clashes with the army.

Protesters also on Saturday reportedly attacked shops in Mukalla owned by northerners, and burnt down two offices belonging to the Islamist Al-Islah (Reform) Party. In the city of Sayun, in the eastern province of Hadramawt, protesters trying to enforce civil disobedience reportedly set a merchant from the northern Yemeni city of Dhamar on fire, leaving him in a critical condition.

The burning and destruction of Islah party office by separatists in Al-Mukalla.

The burning and destruction of Islah party office by separatists in Al-Mukalla.

Protesters also clashed on Sunday with security forces in the southeastern city of Mukalla after they blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks. In Aden itself, protesters were killed and wounded when army troops opened fire in a main road in the Mualla neighbourhood. Protesters also blocked roads in the neighbourhoods of Mansura, Sheikh Osman and Dar Saad. Graphic images of separatist protesters killed by government forces, including activist and journalist Wajdi AlShuaibi who was assassinated in his home in front of his family by masked gunmen have been widely shared on [Warning: GRAPHIC images] Facebook and Twitter.

Sarah Jamal tweeted:

@Sarah_Sanaa: Shabwa joins Aden and Hadramout in their civil obedience demanding immediate replacement of Aden's governer #Yemen

@Sarah_Sanaa: All south is on fire.. Security shooting protesters in Aden, Hadramout and now Shabwa&govt. and president r silent #Yemen

Government forces parading tanks in Al-Mansoora in Aden to quel the civil disobedience

A protest in solidarity with Aden and condemning all kinds of violence is scheduled in Sanaa today [Feb 26].
Sarah Jamal tweeted:

tmrw 10 am a march in Sanaa agnst security forces violence&all sorts of back-lashing violence in the south, supporting Southern cause #Yemen

A protester holding a placard that reads in Arabic "He who is killing in the south wants the geography and does not want the unity"

A protester holding a placard that reads in Arabic “He who is killing in the south wants the geography and does not want the unity”

The first session for the National Dialogue, originally set for mid-November, has been repeatedly delayed, mainly due to differences between the southerners. It is now scheduled for March 18, yet after the last bloody events in Aden and the increasing death toll in the southern provinces, many suspect it will still take place as planned.

National Dialogue Technical committee head Ahmed bin Mubarak condemned using violence in the name of unity
CCYRC tweeted:

#NDC S Dr. AhmedBinMubarak: We can't avoid secession but we can boost unification by building confidence bridges not by slogans #Yemen #Aden

@CCYRC: NDC Secruitry & CCYRC member Dr. AhmedBinMubarak ,I don’ know wht r benefits of killing Yemeni of cool blood&by nam of revlotin #Yemen #Aden

Summer Nasser tweeted:

@SummerNasser: #Yemen: As we get closer to the date of the “National Dialogue” event on March 18th, there will be ongoing conflicts in Aden.

She urged:

@SummerNasser: Remain peaceful, southerners. Once you draw your weapon against those who are oppressing you, it will be the day you regret it! #Aden #Yemen

Mai Saleh tweeted:

@A4Mai: What's going on in Aden kills any chances for peaceful solution not to mention the southerners participation in the National Dialogue #Yemen

Mohammed Jarhum tweeted:

@moejarhum: A wise man said separation is not by force and neither is unity #Yemen #Aden

The monologue of bullets and blood which the government chose in Aden is surely jeopardizing the fate of the National Dialogue and unity in Yemen. Yet, what is more alarming besides the bloodshed and ongoing clashes is the hate speech from both sides of the conflict in Yemen, promoted by news outlets and posts on social media.

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