Yemen Protesters Not Satisfied with Saleh Deal, Hit the Streets
The U.S.-backed deal for Yemen’s president to step down fell far short of the demands of protesters, The Associated Press is reporting.
According to the report, the protests in the country continued on Thursday, and demonstrators fought regime supporters on the streets of Sanaa. Five people died in the clashes.
On Wednesday, President Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned after almost 10 months of protests calling for him to quit.
Saleh has struck a deal with the opposition that will see him leave office in 30 days. Meanwhile, Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will negotiate details of a power transfer with the opposition, in return for a promise of immunity from prosecution. The deal was signed in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
However, the plan does not directly change the system Saleh put in place over three decades to serve his interests, AP noted.
The deal leaves much more of the old regime intact than did the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, a fact which outraged protesters, who are particularly rejected a provision that gives Saleh immunity from prosecution.
According to the deal, in the coming days an opposition group that signed the deal will name a prime minister, whom Hadi will swear in. The new prime minister will then form a national unity government, evenly divided between the opposition and Saleh's ruling party. Hadi will announce a date for presidential elections, to be held within 90 days.
The deal ensures that Saleh’s party will play a large role in Yemen’s future, AP noted. The deal does not mention Saleh’s son, Ahmed, who commands the elite Republican Guard, or his other relatives and associates who command security forces. These units are often the enforcers of Saleh’s regime and could remain more loyal to him and his associates than to a new coalition government, said the report.
The thousands of protesters who marched Thursday in the capital Sanaa, the central city of Taiz and elsewhere, called for Saleh to be tried for charges of corruption and for the killing of protesters during the uprising.
“We'll keep fighting until Saleh is tried for all the crimes he has committed against the people in his capacity as the head of the armed forces,” Yemeni activist Bushra al-Maqtari told AP.