Yemen's south prepares for demonstrations as secessionists gain momentum
Southern separatists in Yemen are preparing for a massive mass rally on Friday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the country's reunification.
Local sources told The New Arab that supporters of the Southern Transitional Council - headed by UAE backed General Aidarous al-Zubaidi - are planning to hold demonstrations in the southern port city of Aden.
Locals in the surrounding provinces of Lahj, Dali and Abyan have already reportedly started the long march south to arrive in Aden for Friday's rally.
The demonstration comes amid a dispute between southern secessionists and the exiled UN-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
In a speech at a meeting of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden on Wednesday, Zubaidi said the council could continue to demand secession for southern Yemen.
He also warned the Hadi government that his supporters' patience was "running low".
The Hadi government has accused Zubaidi of "supplementing the Iranian and Houthi power grab" to increase the power of the southern front.
This followed accusations from Zubaidi that the Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar supports "terrorism".
Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr has urged calm and asked southerners to "continue supporting Hadi until Allah finds an end to the Yemen crisis".
The premier chaired a meeting between the higher security committee in Aden, Lahj, Abyan and al-Dhalea and Yemeni officials to find common ground between the two groups.
Zubaidi formed the Southern Transitional Council in May when he was dismissed from his Aden municipal leadership post by exiled President Hadi.