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

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    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.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora