Separatists have held a general strike in the southern Yemeni city of Aden in protest to the start of national dialogue to end the political crisis in the country.
Public services, businesses and offices remained close for six hours on Saturday after a call by the pro-secession Southern Movement. Protesters have closed the main roads with stone blocks and security forces have been deployed across the city.
The Southern Movement has boycotted the national dialogue that is scheduled to be held on Monday and calls for autonomy or the complete independence of the south.
Separatists have been protesting every Wednesday and Saturday since last month to show their outrage at the deaths of activists in clashes with security forces.
On March 13, two protesters were killed in clashes with security forces in Aden.
North and south Yemen unified in 1990 after the southern government collapsed. Northern troops took control of the south after winning a civil war in 1994.
The Southern Movement gained strength during mass demonstrations which forced Saleh to step down in February 2012.
The UN-backed dialogue is aimed at putting an end to the Arab country’s political crisis. Some 565 representatives from Yemen’s different political groups will take part in the talks, which will run for six months.
The representatives are expected to draft a new constitution and prepare for general elections in February 2014.