December 24, 2011 by staff
Yemen Protests, Yemen’s outgoing president said Saturday he would leave the country for the United States to help calm tensions in his country as forces commanded by his son and nephew opened fire on more than 100,000 protesters marching into the capital, killing at least nine.
The protesters had marched on foot for four days from the city of Taiz, south of Sanaa, in the first such march of its kind seen in Yemen, to pressure the government not to give Saleh immunity from prosecution. When they reached the southern entrances to the capital, forces of the elite Republican Guard fired on them with automatic weapons, tear gas and water cannons.
The turmoil reflected the confused political situation in Yemen caused by the slow-motion, uncertain exit of Saleh from power in the face of huge protests demanding his ouster that have shaken the country since February.
Late last month, Saleh signed an agreement in which he handed over his powers to his vice president and committed to step down completely in return for immunity. But 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.
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