Massive Yemen protest demands ex-leader face charges
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Tuesday demanding the repeal of immunity for ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the largest protest since the veteran leader was forced from power in February, organizers said.
"The number of participants has exceeded 200,000," said a member of the organizing committee, while another said protesters covered around five kilometers (3 miles) along Al-Zubairy main street of the capital, with others still joining.
The protest, which had been called for last week by the Committee of Youth of the Peaceful Revolution, came hot on the heels of an explosion that targeted the Defense Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed.
He survived the attack but 12 people were killed, including seven of his guards.
Protesters want to bring Saleh and his aides to justice over the killing of demonstrators during a year of demonstration against his rule that lasted 33 years.
Although he stepped down, Saleh is believed to be working behind the scene to undermine the political transition in the country. Some go as far as accusing him of instigating violence.
"This is what creates a lot of rage, the fact that even though he was overthrown, he is still making decisions and has power and immunity," Ibrahim Mothana, a local activist, told Al-Akhbar.
Mothana said protesters marched towards the Saleh residence where the ousted dictator has been holed up for his own security, but it was unclear how far they were willing to go, knowing that his security forces may fire on them.
Under the Gulf-brokered peace deal, Saleh abandoned his post to his then deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after a national unity government was formed, while in return he was given immunity against prosecution.
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