Yemenis protest Saleh's immunity

Jan. 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Yemenis are infuriated by the granting of immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and took to the streets to demonstrate Tuesday, officials said.

The passage of the "immunity bill" will allow Saleh and his top officials to go untried for war crimes and embezzlement. Prime Minister Mohamed Basendwa made a statement Saturday saying the measure was for the good of Yemen.

Yemeni protesters descended on the U.S. Embassy to voice their outrage. Protesters blame America for Saleh's continued protection.

"It is all their doings [the Americans], they gave him money, then weapons to destroy us, now they want him to protect him from his crimes. If they love him so much, why don't they just take him? We don't want him! We don't want his regime!" a young protestor told Bikyamasr.com in "Change Square."

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a briefing Monday Saleh's admission into the United States was not a protection measure.

"His visa application was for medical treatment. It was approved for medical treatment. It was not approved for political purposes," she said. "The timing, we think, it fortuitous, however, and we hope that the Yemenis will use the time well."

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