The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) gathered on Saturday crowds of loyalists in Mukalla, the provincial capital of Yemen’s oil-rich Hadhramaut province, escalating the already fragile situation in Yemen.
The pro-STC protesters called for self-rule from the internationally recognized government which the STC has already implemented in the port city of Aden, Yemen’s interim capital, and Socotra island.
Experts in Yemen’s conflict said the move was perceived as putting more pressure so that the Riyadh Agreement implementation goes according to their terms.
This came a few days after the STC refused to deactivate its self-rule, demanding the government to pay employees’ salaries in areas under the control of the southern separatists.
In late April, the STC declared the start of self-rule phase in south Yemen, a move that was widely criticized by local and international actors.
In November 2019, a Saudi-brokered agreement was signed between the two sides in Riyadh to end months of struggling for power, but nothing has been done to implement the deal.
In mid-June, things got worse when the STC overran Hadiboh, capital of Socotra, and drove out government forces from the Governor’s compound, announcing its self-rule on the island.