5 Protesters Dead as Peace Eludes Yemen

Posted November 24th, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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At least five anti-government protesters are dead in renewed violence in Yemen.

Witnesses say gunmen loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on protesters who were upset over a power transfer deal that gives Mr. Saleh immunity from prosecution.

The shooting in the capital Sanaa comes less than a day after Mr. Saleh and opposition leaders signed a long-awaited agreement to transfer power to the country's vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. It also calls for the government to hold early presidential elections.

Saudi King Abdullah praised the deal – signed during a ceremony in Saudi Arabia Wednesday – saying Yemen has turned a page and is starting on a new chapter of its history..

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the deal marks a significant step forward for the Yemeni people and urged all parties to refrain from violence. She also urged Yemen to hold credible presidential elections within 90 days.

Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more wounded following a government crackdown on the protests and fighting between pro-Saleh troops and opposition militiamen.

Al-Qaida-linked militants have seized control of several parts of southern Yemen as the government has struggled to contain unrest in other regions.