Huge crowds call for trial of Saleh for protesters' deaths


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The Independent Online

Large crowds of Yemenis rallied in major cities yesterday, demanding that the outgoing President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, be put on trial for the deaths of protesters killed during the country's uprising.

The protests come just a day after Mr Saleh reversed his decision to leave Yemen, according to his ruling party. The decision may be an attempt to salvage his control over the regime as it appears to unravel in the face of internal revolts and relentless street protests.

Tens of thousands marched in the streets of the capital Sanaa, chanting that Mr Saleh "must stand before a judge". Another big crowd of marchers echoed the chant in Taiz, Yemen's second largest city.

Last weekend, Mr Saleh told reporters he would travel to the United States for a period to help bring calm to his nation. But on Saturday, he met figures from his People's Congress Party and decided to stay in the country.

"It is not possible in any way, shape or form to allow the collapse of state establishments and institutions that have been built over the last 49 years," Mr Saleh said in a statement.

He did not mention his plans to stay in Yemen. But Sheik Mohammed al-Shayef, a tribal chief and a leading member of Mr Saleh's party, said separately that the President had decided to remain because of the unrest.