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Yemenis demand former president faces trial over killings

TENS of thousands of Yemenis held demonstrations yesterday to demand that their former president faces trial for ordering the killing of hundreds of unarmed protesters in the pro-democracy uprising that began 10 months ago.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in power for 33 years, signed a deal granting him immunity from prosecution in return for stepping down last month. Saleh, a one-time US ally against al-Qa'ida, transferred his powers to his vice president and said he intended to travel to the United States for medical treatment of wounds suffered in a June assassination attempt.

Many protesters have objected to the deal, which was brokered by Gulf Arab nations and supported by the US, because it doesn't include far-reaching political changes or allow for Saleh to be tried.

The slogan for yesterday's protests referred to the uprising's aims: "Together to achieve the goals of the revolution."

Protesters carried pictures of Saleh with the words "You will not escape punishment."

"Saleh will not get immunity no matter what price we have to pay," said Yemeni activist Mahmoud Taha.

"The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh," the demonstrators chanted.

The US is still evaluating Saleh's request for a visa. The Obama administration is trying to ensure that Saleh visits only for medical care and doesn't plan to stay, US officials said.

Irish Independent