News / Middle East

Rights Group Says Yemen Used Deadly Force in Aden

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sana'a University March 1, 2011
Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a protest demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside Sana'a University March 1, 2011

Yemeni security forces used deadly force against largely peaceful protesters in the southern city of Aden last month, according to a Human Rights Watch report published Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch says Yemeni security forces used a range of weapons against protesters in Aden, including assault rifles and machine guns.

It says between February 16 and 25 at least nine people were killed and more than 150 people were injured, some of them children.

Tom Porteous directs the London office of Human Rights Watch.

"In some cases we have documented killings that took place when protesters were trying to run away or trying to take cover from the shooting of the security forces," said Porteous. "This is excessive use of force that has been used and it is quite clear from the documentation that we have been able to gather. "

Yemen's government has blamed the bloodshed on the Southern Movement, which led the protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. But Human Rights Watch says on the whole, protesters were peaceful.

Mr. Saleh, 64, has been in power for more than three decades. In recent weeks there have been widespread protests against his rule, which critics say has seen Yemen plagued by corruption and poverty.

Porteous says President Saleh has tried to use the might of his security forces to quell unrest.

"The knee-jerk reaction of a repressive regime is to respond to protests against repression with further repression," he said.

Since 2007 the port city of Aden has been the center of protests in Yemen’s southern provinces, where inhabitants have called for increased economic opportunities and political autonomy or secession. The south was a separate republic until it was unified with the north in 1990.

Jinny Hill, a Yemen analyst with London-based research group Chatham House, says clashes between security forces and civilians in the region is not a new development.

"There is a long history of violence between the security services and the civilian population in Aden and in other areas in the south because of the political dynamics," said Hill. "There have been protests on the streets in southern cities for several years now, people protesting about economic conditions, unemployment, and corruption and many of them are calling for the south to separate from the north."

But she says the anti-government protests that are taking place across Yemen are adding a new dimension to the secessionist movement.

She says that some people in the south who were calling for their region to secede are now calling for the president to stand down.

She says some are now thinking about changing their demands and considering instead a new political future for Yemen within a unified political framework.

In Yemen’s capital on Tuesday one person was killed and at least 65 injured when Yemeni police fired on protesters. State news blamed the shooting on gunmen linked to a tribal leader.  

Hill says President Saleh is wary of using violence against protesters.

"We saw a few weeks ago the first incident of violence was a man in civilian clothes who opened fire on some of the protesters around the university and there were a wave of defections from the president's ruling party that followed that incident," she said. "And I think that presented the president with a real challenge because he's obviously concerned about the political momentum that's building up behind the street protesters but he recognizes the sensitivity of actually trying to confront them directly."

President Saleh has refused to step down until his leadership is due to end in 2013.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs