By Fakhri al-Arashi
Members of the Herak movement in south Yemen celebrated on Sunday the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of the former South Yemen. The event was also intended to signify a renewal of Herak’s demand for an end of suppression by the Republic of Yemen which was formed by unification with the South in 1990. The South Yemen military was founded in September 1971, after the announcement of the establishment of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The new state and its military were met with extensive violence and clashes with the Yemeni Arab Republic to the north, especially during military extensive military exchanges in 1986. This conflict in particular greatly weakened the PDRY’s military capability.
Sunday’s military display took place at Aden’s ceremony grounds, and was a deeply symbolic occasion for retired soldiers of the South, who attended dressed in full military regalia. During the celebration, Herak members raised the former flag of the PDRY and chanted for freedom for the South. Some attendees brandished photos of Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in praise of his recent coup against ex-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. They also yelled slogans calling for the UN to recognize and respond to their calls for freedom from the North.
The international community, including the United States and the United Nations, has expressed complete support for Yemeni unity, primarily through their support of the National Dialogue. The Dialogue exists to find a solution for Yemen’s future as stated by the Gulf Initiative that established it. Yemen’s northern and southern regions came to blows following the 1990 unification in a 1994 civil war, which led to the escape-cum-exile of former Vice President Ali Salem al-Baid, who is now calling for the right of the South to separation and freedom from the Yemeni state.