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The New Arab Staff

Southern Yemenis protest UAE-Israel normalisation deal

Thousands in Taiz rallied shortly after Friday prayers [AFP]

Date of publication: 21 August, 2020

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In a statement, groups behind the protests denounced 'Israel's new secret friend in the south', in reference to the UAE-backed STC.
Yemenis poured onto the streets across the country's south on Friday in protest of a US-brokered deal to normalise ties between the UAE and Israel.

In Aden, protesters waved Palestinian flags and carryied banners that read "Normalisation is treason". Some protesters also burned Israeli flags.

In Taiz, thousands of people rallied shortly after Friday prayers, acccording to reports by Arabi21.

In a joint statement, the groups behind the demonstrations said they stood in support of the Palestinian cause, which they described as the "central priority" of all Arabs.

They denounced "Israel's new secret friend in the south", alluding to the political offshot of Yemen's Southern Separatist Movement, the UAE-aligned Southern Transitional Council (STC), who are present in Aden and Taiz.

Last week, STC leader Hani bin Breik said that he was ready to visit Israel after the signing of the normalisation deal, known as the Abraham Accord. 

"If visits are open to the southerners [in Yemen] to Tel Aviv, I would be the first to visit them in their homes," bin Breik said on Twitter.

Wissam Saleh, a local Aden-based activist, said that the protests in her city were a symbol of Yemenis' defiance and refusal to submit to the dictates of the UAE-backed STC.

In June, a report published by Israel Today alleged that the armed group had been in secret talks with Israel.

Read more: Yemen's UAE-backed STC 'in secret talks with Israel', report claims

Last month, the UAE-backed fighters abandoned their declaration of self-rule in the south, pledging to implement a stalled Saudi-brokered peace deal, mending a rift between allies in the war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The Southern Transitional Council proclaimed self-governance in April after accusing the government of failing to perform its duties and of "conspiring" against the southern cause, pushing the war-ravaged country deeper into crisis.

The breakdown between the one-time allies had complicated a long and separate conflict between a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-allied rebels, who control much of the north, including the capital Sanaa.

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