Yemen forces fire on Aden demonstrators

Southern separatist protesters, Aden, 21 Feb 2013 Some southern protesters see government troops as "occupiers"

Security forces in the Yemeni city of Aden have fired on protesters calling for southern independence, killing at least four and wounding many others.

The demonstrations in the southern port city came on the first anniversary of the uncontested election of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

Supporters of the president are holding a rival protest in the city.

Amnesty International has urged the authorities to end what it calls the routine violent repression of protests.

"The Yemeni authorities must end the routine violent repression of freedom of assembly,'' the human rights group said.

"The Southern Movement and its followers have a right to protest peacefully, and the Yemeni authorities must allow them this right.'

Dozens of protesters were wounded 10 days ago when rival rallies clashed and security forces opened fire.

City paralysed

In Thursday's unrest, security officials said two policemen were wounded by snipers overlooking the main southern separatist protest, the AFP news agency reported.

Yemne map

Nearly 30 separatist protesters were wounded on Thursday in Aden.

The city was paralysed as security forces deployed heavily around to try to keep rival rallies apart, AFP reported.

Pro-government supporters, mostly form the Islamist al-Islah waved Yemeni flags and carried portraits of the president.

Separatist protesters chanted "Revolution in the south, occupiers go out."

Calls from the south for independence are not new. South Yemen was a former British colony and later a socialist secular state and was not united with the North till 1990.

Many in the south feel they have been disenfranchised for decades.

After the pro-democracy uprising they have had more space to protest.

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