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Yemenis rally, denounce killing of protesters

SANA, Yemen — Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Sunday in Yemen'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 "tool in the hands" of outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The march took place as Hadi was meeting with U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein. A statement from Hadi'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 country's tensions, Saleh said Saturday he would leave for the United States.

In the capital, Sana, troops commanded by Saleh's relatives attacked protesters on Saturday, activists said, killing at least nine and setting off Sunday's demonstration. The activists said the elite Republican Guard troops led by Saleh's son Ahmed fired at the protesters, and dozens were arrested by the National Security police led by Saleh's nephew.

The United States is concerned about months of turmoil in Yemen that has led to a security breakdown, because the dangerous al-Qaida branch in Yemen has taken advantage of the vacuum to expand its presence in the south of the country. A security official said al-Qaida-linked forces on Sunday killed an intelligence chief responsible for fighting terrorism in southern Yemen.

Plea on Syria: Syria's top opposition leader, Burhan Ghalioun, called on the Arab League on Sunday to bring the United Nations into the effort to stop the regime's bloody crackdown on dissent as security forces pressed ahead with raids and arrests and killed at least seven more people. Opposition groups say the Arab League is not strong enough to resolve the crisis.

Yemenis rally, denounce killing of protesters 12/25/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 25, 2011 10:39pm]
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