- BayBak, Voice of a Nation - http://www.en.baybak.com -
Protestors demand Yemeni VP’s resignation, U.S. considers President Salehâ€™s travel request
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 512 days ago | Monday, 26th December , 2011 , 16:40 [pm] | International
|.|| Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Sunday in Yemenâ€™s capital, protesting the deaths of protesters and demanding the resignation of the vice president for failing to bring the killers to justice.
Marching past the office of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the protesters denounced him as a â€œtool in the handsâ€ of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Sunday in Yemenâ€™s capital, protesting the deaths of protesters and demanding the resignation of the vice president for failing to bring the killers to justice.
Marching past the office of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the protesters denounced him as a â€œtool in the handsâ€ of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
â€œThe people want to bring the slaughterer to trial,â€ shouted the protesters who marched from Change Square, epicenter of the uprising that began nearly a year ago, towards Sittin Avenue in the northern district of Sanaâ€™a.
â€œWe wonâ€™t rest until the slaughterer is executed,â€ they chanted. â€œWe donâ€™t want Abdrabuh, Ali Saleh controls him,â€ they chanted, referring to Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.
The march took place as Hadi was meeting with U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein. A statement from Hadiâ€™s office said they discussed Yemen’s crisis, and Hadi appealed for calm.
Hadi is heading a transitional government after Saleh agreed to transfer power following months of demonstrations and turmoil. Under the U.S.-backed plan, Saleh won immunity from prosecution, angering many of his opponents. Yielding to pressure to defuse the countryâ€™s tensions, Saleh said Saturday he would leave for the United States.
Angry youths have staged defiant protests against the plan, which is backed by the United Nations, despite a bloody backlash by Salehâ€™s forces and loyalists that has seen hundreds of them killed.
But Salehâ€™s General Peopleâ€™s Congress party insisted on Sunday that the parliament would confirm the immunity deal.
â€œMeasures will be taken to issue the immunity law as per the Gulf planâ€ after a parliamentary vote of confidence on the newly formed unity government expected this week, Sultan al-Barakani, who represents the GPC’s bloc in parliament, told AFP.
The veteran leader said Saturday that he would soon visit the United States ahead of transferring power following a February 21 presidential election.
A diplomat from one of the countries that has sponsored the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Saleh has presented â€œa list of 412 peopleâ€ he wants the immunity deal to include.
The list includes his relatives, aides, and officials who had worked with him during his rule, the source said, adding that Saleh was given a US visa “two weeks ago.”
But Sundayâ€™s protesters reject any such agreements.
â€œNo guarantee, no immunity to Saleh and to those close to him,â€ they shouted.
The U.S. is concerned about months of turmoil in Yemen that has led to a security breakdown, because the dangerous al-Qaeda branch in Yemen has taken advantage of the vacuum to expand its presence in the south of the country.
Gunmen shot dead an intelligence chief on Sunday in the port of Aden in south Yemen, a police official said, blaming the attack on Qaeda.
The assailants intercepted the vehicle carrying Colonel Hussein Shabibi, head of internal security in the city’s Sheikh Othman district, and shot him dead before making good their escape in a car, the official said.
Shabibi was the latest security officer to be targeted in recent months in south Yemen in attacks generally attributed by officials to Qaeda.
The Islamist extremist network has turned 11 months of political turmoil in the capital Sanaa to its advantage, using the popular revolt against President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bolster its presence in south and east Yemen.
Militants linked to Qaeda control several regions and towns including Abyan provincial capital Zinjibar, where they clash regularly with government forces and tribal auxiliaries.
Government forces are also sometimes supported by US drone strikes in their battle against the Partisans of Sharia, the Qaeda-linked insurgent group that took over most of Zinjibar in May.
U.S. considers President Salehâ€™s travel request as violence flares up in Yemen
The Obama administration is considering whether to allow Yemenâ€™s outgoing president into the United States for medical treatment, as fresh violence and political tensions flare in the strategically important Middle East nation.
A senior administration official said President Ali Abdullah Salehâ€™s office requested that he be allowed to receive specialized treatment in the U.S. for injuries sustained in a June attack on his compound. The request was being considered, and would only be approved for medical reasons, the official said.
Until now, the White House had not commented on Salehâ€™s assertion Saturday that he would be leaving Yemen and traveling to the U.S. Saleh insisted he was going in order to help calm tensions in his country, not for medical treatment.
The official, who requested anonymity because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly, did not say when the Obama administration would decide on Salehâ€™s request. But the official said Salehâ€™s office indicated that he would leave Yemen soon and spend time elsewhere abroad before he hoped to come to the U.S.
Demonstrators began protesting against Saleh and calling for his ouster in February. The Yemeni government responded with a bloody crackdown, leaving hundreds of protesters dead, and stoking fears of instability in a nation already grappling with burgeoning extremism.
Last month, Saleh agreed to a U.S.â”€ and Saudi-backed deal to hand power over to his vice president and commit to stepping down completely in exchange for immunity. The deal further angered Salehâ€™s opponents, who demanded he be tried for his attacks on protesters.
American officials are deeply concerned that the months of turmoil in Yemen have led to a security breakdown. The dangerous al-Qaeda branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has taken advantage of the vacuum to expend its presence in southern Yemen.
Pressure has been mounting in recent weeks for Saleh to leave Yemen altogether. Opponents say he has continued to wield influence through his loyalists and relatives still in positions of power, hampering the transition ahead of presidential elections set for Feb. 21. Many feared he would find a way to continue his rule.
Activists said troops commanded by Salehâ€™s relatives attacked protesters in the capital of Sanaa Saturday, killing at least nine people. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated the following day, protesting the deaths and demanding the resignation of Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi for failing to bring the killers to justice.
The White House said President Barack Obamaâ€™s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, called Hadi on Sunday and emphasized the need for Yemeni security forces to show â€œmaximum restraintâ€ when dealing with demonstrations. Hadi told Brennan that he had launched an investigation into the recent deaths and injuries and would do his utmost to prevent further bloodshed, the White House said.
The White House said Brennan and Hadi agreed on the importance of continuing with the agreed-upon path of political transition in Yemen in order to ensure that the February elections take place.
Obama was being briefed on developments in Yemen while in Hawaii for his Christmas vacation.
The U.S. has experience with letting unpopular foreign leaders into this country for medical treatment.
More than three decades ago, President Jimmy Carter allowed the exiled shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment in October 1979, eight months after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led a revolution that ousted the shah and created the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On Nov. 4, 1979, Iranian students occupied the U.S. embassy in Iran. Fifty-two American hostages were held for 444 days in response to Carter’s refusal to send the shah back to Iran for trial.
France slams crackdown
France criticized on Monday the use of deadly force by the Yemeni government against demonstrators and warned it could seek targeted sanctions against regime officials accused of rights abuses.
In a statement from its foreign ministry, France said government forces had fired live rounds at a peaceful demonstration in Sanaâ€™a on Saturday â€œcausing numerous deaths and injuries.â€
â€œFrance called on the vice president and prime minister to assume all their responsibilities and exert their authority on all military and police forces to bring to an end violence against protesters,â€ it said.
France called on commanders in the security forces to put themselves under the command of Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi, and expressed the hope that Salehâ€™s departure â€œwill reduce tensionsâ€.
â€œFrance and its partners do not rule out putting particular restrictive measures in place against members of the army or police or people who, by deliberately stoking tension, seek to undermine the political process.â€alarabiya, Voice of a Nation