Southerners flood into Aden for 'million-man victory parade' after separatists' takeover

Southerners flood into Aden for 'million-man victory parade' after separatists' takeover
Videos and images circulating online showed hundreds of cars entering Aden, the separatists’ so-called capital, where clashes between Saudi-backed government forces and UAE-backed separatists have erupted in the last week.

3 min read
15 August, 2019
The victory parade celebrated the separatists' takeover of Aden [Twitter]
Thousands of Yemenis from across the country’s southern region descended upon the temporary capital on Wednesday, in a million man parade celebrating the separatists’ takeover of Aden.

The parade took place in Aden’s Khormaksar district, just feet away from the capital’s heavily-guarded safe zone where international rights organisations and UN agencies are located.

 “The million-man parade was no doubt huge, but it was made up of Bedouins and people from other cities across the south, including Dhale’ - not Adenis,” a witness told The New Arab.

Adenis have been largely isolated from this whole campaign despite it unravelling on home ground. The influx of Southern Transitional Council [STC] supporters from other areas of the region in no way reflects the general opinion on the street.

"There are some that support and others that don’t - most people just want peace and we don’t care who provides that for us,” the unnamed witness said.

The dubbed victory parade took place in the evening on Wednesday, just days after the separatists announced they had captured all state institutions in Aden after heavy clashes.

The clashes erupted after a prominent southern separatist leader was killed in a Houthi attack on a military graduate parade in Aden earlier this month.

The death of one of Abu Dhabi's most senior right-hand men, Abu Yamama al-Yaefi sent shockwaves across much of the south, triggering the most intense clashes in the temporary capital of Aden since the Houthi infiltration in the summer of 2015.

In a statement carried by the official Saba news agency, the government on Thursday blamed the secessionist Southern Transitional Council for "the armed escalation... and its dire consequences, which threaten the security and safety of residents" and Aden's stability.

It called on the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition backing the government against Houthi rebels, to "exert urgent and strong pressure on the Transitional Council to prevent any military manoeuvres in the city".

It also called for all armed forces to be incorporated into the state's security apparatus.

Tensions have often run high in Aden between the UAE-backed Security Belt and Saudi-backed forces supporting the Aden-based government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The latest developments came as UAE-backed southern separatists leader Hani bin Breik called on supporters to overthrow the Saudi-backed internationally-recognised Hadi government in Aden.

Bin Breik called on supporters to march toward the Maasheeq Palace in the southern coastal city, which has for years played as the temporary capital of the war-torn country.

"We announce a general mobilisation of all our southern forces to march toward the Maasheeq Palace," said Hani Ben Brek, deputy chairman of the Southern Transitional Council.

Bin Breik, one of the UAE's key allies in Yemen and reportedly a close aide of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, accused forces stationed at the presidential headquarters of attacking demonstrators loyal to the separatist movement during a funeral for victims of a recent attack.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led military coalition backing the UN-recognised government against Houthi rebels in the country's conflict, however its forces in the south of the country have frequently clashed with Saudi-backed government forces.

Yemen has been at war for more than four years. 

The Houthis control the capital Sanaa and most cities in northern, central and western regions, while the government maintains a makeshift capital in Aden. 

In the south, where UAE-backed secessionists claim independence, there is strong resentment of citizens from the north.

Southern Yemen was an independent state until 1990 and the north is perceived to have imposed unification by force.

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