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Yemen police shoot dead pro-secession protester


Police shot dead a protester in the southeastern Yemeni city of Tarim during a demonstration Monday against a national dialogue that opened in the capital, activists and local media said.

The protester was killed "by police gunfire during clashes with demonstrators protesting against the dialogue," Southern Movement activist Fuad Rashid told AFP.

Yemeni news site Aden al-Ghad identified the victim as Rami Mahfouz al-Bar.

The report cited witnesses who said that security forces used their rifle butts to beat demonstrators before arresting at least four of them.

The death is the latest in a spate of recent killings at the hands of the security forces in the restive south.

The protests come as Yemen, the only country in the region where a revolt led to a negotiated settlement, launched Monday a UN-backed national dialogue, which is to run for six months.

Hardline members of the Southern Movement are boycotting the dialogue, which is to pave the way for the drafting of a new constitution that will lead to legislative elections.

They have urged their supporters to observe a day of "civil disobedience," in a call responded to by many people in cities across the south, which was an independent state until 1990.

In the main southern city of Aden, hundreds had camped the night at al-Arood square in Khormaksar district waving flags of former South Yemen.

"No dialogue, yes independence," they chanted early on Monday waving portraits of South Yemen's former president Ali Salem al-Baid, whose faction insists on full southern secession.

They also waved portraits of the head of the Southern Movement's Supreme Council Hassan Baoum, the most powerful faction of the alliance which is also boycotting the dialogue.

Police, deployed around the area, did not intervene in Aden. But witnesses said that policemen and southern gunmen traded gunfire in Mukalla, Hadramawt's provincial capital.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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