Violence broke out today in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, when separatists attacked a protest camp set up in Freedom Square by “reformist” protesters who were urging participation in the upcoming single-candidate presidential election.
The violence reflects the complex situation on the ground in Yemen, where power bases vary from city to city and, in Aden, there exist four distinct factions with significant support.
In addition to the usual pro-democracy protester faction and the Salafist faction that backs the Saleh regime openly, Aden is also near the Abyan Province, meaning it is home to a significant faction loyal to the Ansar al-Sharia and the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
But Aden is also the center of the Southern Movement, which seeks to break off from Yemen and reform the former Socialist nation of South Yemen. It is this faction that was reportedly behind today’s attacks.
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