Aden: Armed clashes between supporters and
opponents of a presidential election in Yemen left dozens of
people wounded in the main southern city of Aden, activists
from both sides said on Saturday.
The violence erupted late yesterday when supporters of
the Southern Movement, a separatist group, attacked a march
organised by rivals from a year-old protest movement against
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, one activist said.
More than 30 demonstrators were injured, some by gunfire,
A medical official confirmed that dozens of people had
been hurt, and one who suffered serous head injuries was
rushed to hospital in Aden.
A Southern Movement activist blamed the other side for
triggering the violence by staging their demonstration in a
stronghold of the movement, and said 15 people from his group
were injured -- nine by bullets.
Nasser Tawil of the Southern Movement said the "tragic
and unacceptable" clashes happened because supporters and
opponents of Yemen`s presidential election set for February 21
were in the same neighbourhood.
Some factions of the Movement have been campaigning for a
boycott of the election, which they say fails to meet their
aspirations for autonomy or even southern independence.
Saleh`s deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, himself a
southerner, is the sole candidate in the election to succeed
the veteran strongman who is standing down after more than
three decades in power.
Nationwide protests erupted against Saleh`s regime in
January last year, triggering months of bloodshed.
Saleh himself arrived in New York on January 28 to
receive medical treatment for blast wounds suffered in a June
bombing at the presidential palace.
US officials have said he will not return to Yemen until
after the election.
Southerners have long complained of discrimination by the
authorities in Sanaa, and Tawil accused Saleh supporters of
stoking tensions in the south, proposing the election be