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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More