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Yemeni Demonstrators Killed in Clashes with Police

Armed men patrol the streets of the Yemeni southern town of Radfan, to enforce a strike called by the Southern Movement separatists, 07 Jul 2010

Yemeni officials say police killed two demonstrators in the southern city of Aden, Wednesday, after clashes broke out between protesters and security forces.

Police officials say the clashes erupted after law enforcement authorities tried to prevent demonstrators from holding an unauthorized funeral march for a southern secessionist who died in police custody last month. The secessionist was among a group of people detained by authorities following a June attack in Aden that left 11 people dead.

At least two other protesters were wounded, Wednesday. The incident took place after southern secessionists had gathered to mark the "Day of Rage," the anniversary of a failed 1994 uprising that sought southern independence.

North and south Yemen united in 1990. However, rebels unsuccessfully tried to secede from the north four years later.

Separately, a Yemeni court has sentenced two suspected al-Qaida militants to death for a series of lethal attacks against military and police targets last year.

Officials say after their verdicts were read Wednesday, 18-year-old Mansour Saleh Dalil and 23-year-old Mubarak Ali Hadi al-Shabwani shouted, "God is great." Dalil said he will appeal his verdict, while al-Shabwani rejected the legitimacy of the court.

The Sana'a court convicted the pair of being part of an armed gang that killed nine people in 2009. Prosecutors said Dalil and al-Shabwani killed three security officials and their two bodyguards in November when they ambushed their vehicle in the southern province of Hadramut.

The two were also convicted of killing a Yemeni solider in eastern Marib province last July when they attacked a military truck carrying weapons and ammunition.

Prosecutors said when police tried to arrest the militants after the attack, the pair killed two security officials and a civilian. Five soldiers also were wounded in the operation.

Yemen intensified its campaign against al-Qaida after the group's local branch - al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula - claimed responsibility for the failed bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.