Yemen’s Saleh vows to leave, troops kill 13
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators chant slogans in a protest, marching from the city of Taez to Sanaa. AFP photoTroops commanded by relatives of Yemen’s outgoing president attacked a crowd of more than 100,000 protesters peacefully marching into the capital Dec. 24, killing 13 and driving the president to promise to leave the country.
Yielding to pressure to defuse the country’s turmoil, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Dec. 24 he would leave for the United States and give way to a successor after forces overseen by his son and nephew opened fire on the protesters.The protesters had marched for four days and 320 kilometers on foot to pressure the government not to give Saleh immunity from prosecution, in the first march of its kind in the impoverished nation that is home to a dangerous al-Qaeda offshoot. After protesters arrived at the southern entrances to the capital, forces of the elite Republican Guard fired on them with automatic weapons, tear gas and water cannons, sparking hours of clashes. The violence illustrated the confusion in Yemen caused by the slow-motion exit of Saleh from power after 33 years of rule. “Thirteen people were killed and 50 others were wounded by live rounds,” a medical official said yesterday. The medic from a field hospital in the capital said that 150 other people suffered from breathing difficulties due to tear gas inhalation. The protesters attending “March for Life” denounced the deal Saleh agreed last month giving him immunity from prosecution in exchange for handing power to his deputy, who is to work with an interim government including opposition parties before a February presidential election. That plan, crafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and mirrored in the terms of a U.N. Security Council resolution, has been bitterly condemned by youth protesters who demand Saleh face trial and his inner circle be banned from holding power.
Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.