Chiara Onassis | 24 January 2012
SANA’A: In the wake of the passing of the “immunity bill” which in essence allows President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the main figures of his regime to walk free without fear of future prosecution despite the many counts of war crimes and embezzlement, tens of thousands of Yemenis descended onto the country’s streets voicing their outrage.
Despite a statement made by Prime Minister Mohamed Basendwa on Saturday claiming that despite his “desire for justice” he had to choose Yemen; adding that as the head of the government his prime duty was to protect the nation and that to his best knowledge Saleh had to be given immunity.
Frustrated by the slow-paced power-transfer and the regime unwillingness to comply to the terms of the GCC brokered initiative, revolutionaries turned their anger and frustration towards the international community and more specifically against the US embassy as Americans, Yemenis feel are still supporting and protecting the autocrat.
“It is all their doings [the Americans], they gave him money, then weapons to destroy us, now they want him to protect him from his crimes. If they love him so much why don’t they just take him? We don’t want him! We don’t want his regime! “said a passionate Youth demonstrator in “Change Square”.
Anti-riots police units were immediately dispatched nearby the US embassy as the government feared an escalation in violence.
“We will be back” taunted revolutionaries. “This is our country and we will do as we please, the Americans cannot dictate our conduct or meddle anymore.”
Another group of protesters decided to head towards Sana’a International Airport as they are now demanding the immediate departure of General Mohamed al-Ahmar, President’s Saleh brother and Head of the air force.
Since his military is sitting directly next to the airport, protesters are now occupying the nearby grounds, determined to serve a deadly to the regime’s apparatus by getting rid of one of its pillars.
As a result, flights in Sana’a have been delayed. Security officials have said that for now the airport would remain open adding they were carefully monitoring the situation.
Special UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar admitted that the amendments made to the immunity bill did not “lived up to the UN’s expectations” since it failed to address the victim’s rights.