Thousands protest in Yemen

Published March 22nd, 2014 - 07:43 GMT
Yemenis are demanding a trail for Saleh and government officials involved in the killing of protesters on the "Friday of Dignity." (AFP/File)
Yemenis are demanding a trail for Saleh and government officials involved in the killing of protesters on the "Friday of Dignity." (AFP/File)

Thousands of Yemeni protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Sana’a, calling for the release of all political prisoners in the country.

Following Friday prayers, the protesters staged an anti-government demonstration, demanding the trial of the country’s former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.

They chanted slogans for the prosecution of all government officials involved in the killing of pro-democracy protesters on March 18, 2011, dubbed the "Friday of Dignity”.

According to Human Rights Watch, 45 protesters were shot dead by gunmen loyal to Saleh and 200 others were injured in just three hours on that day.

On Tuesday, rights group Amnesty International called for revoking the immunity granted to Saleh.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster.

"The immunity law is totally unacceptable and must be revoked immediately. Effectively it allows anyone guilty of human rights violations associated with the previous government to walk free," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The Yemeni people regularly stage protest rallies, demanding that the former regime officials stand trial.

Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country. Forty percent of the people of Yemen are living on two US dollars a day or less and one third are wrestling with chronic hunger.


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