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Separatists in southern Yemen have imposed emergency measures in a bid to quell growing protests over dire living conditions in areas they control

SANAA, Yemen – Separatists in southern Yemen resorted to emergency measures on Wednesday in an attempt to quell growing protests against dire living conditions in areas under their control.

Aydarous al-Zubaidi, the head of the Southern Separatist Transition Council, declared a state of emergency in the southern provinces of Yemen, including the port city of Aden. The city serves as the interim capital for the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Al-Zubaidi, in a speech to STC supporters on Wednesday evening, said the emergency measures are effective immediately.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Aden and other towns, in some cases clashing with forces loyal to the STC.

Protesters briefly blocked the main roads and streets of Aden. The forces used tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters, security officials said. At least two protesters were injured in Aden and five others in Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city, they said.

Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The secessionist council disagrees with the Hadi government. The two sides clashed in 2019 and 2020, adding further chaos to a country already embroiled in a conflict that has lasted for years.

The STC is supported by the United Arab Emirates. He still believes in the restoration of an independent southern Yemen, which existed from 1967 to 1990.

A Saudi-led coalition went to war in March 2015, backed by the United States, in an attempt to bring Hadi back to power, and gave support to his government backed by the international community. Despite a relentless air campaign and fighting on the ground, the war has largely deteriorated to a stalemate and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In recent months, conditions have deteriorated further, with the Yemeni rial losing 36% of its value in July, compared to the same period last year, according to the United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis live in conditions bordering on famine. More than 20.1 million of the country’s roughly 30 million people in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, UN says

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ABC News