Protests in Aden after Hadi drops UAE-allied governor

An official presidential decree dismissing Aden’s governor and a cabinet minister caused a stir in the southern city on Friday.

Demonstrators gathered in Yemen’s temporary capital on Friday to protest against President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s decision to dismiss two prominent UAE-allied southern figures, including Aden’s governor Major General Aidaroos al-Zubaidi and a cabinet minister.

Dozens participated in a protest held on the main road in Aden’s Maala neighbourhood on Friday afternoon, raising banners and chanting slogans rejecting the unexpected dismissal of al-Zubaidi and cabinet minister, Hani Ben Breik.

Hadi announced the “bold” orders on Thursday evening, causing a stir among local supporters of the two officials.

Both al-Zubaidi and Ben Breik held close ties with the United Arab Emirates, which has been active in Yemen’s southern region since intervening as part of a Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels in the country.

Relations between Saudi-backed Hadi and the UAE have been tense in recent months, over allegations by the Yemeni president that Abu Dhabi is offering patronage to southern Yemeni politicians campaigning for secession.

Meanwhile, military commanders and officials, including ambassadors and other governors representing the majority of Yemen’s other provinces supported the decision.

“These decisions will help to strengthen the situation and its stability,” the official Yemeni news agency quoted the governor of Socotra as saying.

In September 2014, Houthi rebels captured state buildings and institutions in Yemen’s capital city, prompting the government to flee towards Aden – where Hadi established a temporary capital.