Hundreds of Thousands Rally for Secession in Yemen’s South

Demonstrators Call for Restoration of Independent South Yemen

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the southern Yemeni city of Aden, calling for an end to the union with Yemen and the restoration of an independent South Yemen, which Aden was the capital of until 1990.

The march was timed for the anniversary of the 1986 civil war, in which exiled former ruler Abdul Fattah Ismail returned from Moscow and attempted to reclaim power. South Yemen never fully recovered from the brief war, and by 1990 officials agreed to come under the rule of the northern half of the country.

Yemen’s military has taken a dim view of secessionist protests in recent months, and adopted a “shoot on sight” policy against some of the recent rallies in Aden. So far they have not moved against today’s rally.

Absent from the demonstration was any discussion of Maj. Gen. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s offer for negotiations with southern Yemeni officials aimed at partial autonomy for the region, with most seeming to take a secession-or-nothing view of the situation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.