Yemeni ruling party resumes loyal rallies to confront demand of prosecuting Saleh

January 1, 2012 2:40 am 

SANAA, Dec. 31 — The Yemeni ruling party on Friday resumed holding its weekly loyal rallies to confront opposition- led escalating demands of prosecuting outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was granted immunity after signing a power transfer deal.

The decision came three weeks after the party halted its loyal rallies following the formation of the opposition-led coalition government to show "commitment to implementing the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative that stipulated the end of the rival rallies."

"The General People's Congress (GPC) decided to resume staging its weekly rallies," the ruling party said in a statement posted on its website.

"We call for the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) to comply with the terms of the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism and to stop the provocative actions," it said.

Thousands of the GPC supporters gathered Friday in a square near Saleh's presidential compound in Sanaa, urging their opponents to adhere to the power transfer deal, according to witnesses.

They dubbed the day "If you go back, we go back," in reference that they will counter any opposition escalation.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of opposition loyalists staged rallies across the country on Friday to call on prosecuting Saleh and his aides for "ordering crackdown on anti-government protests during the past 11 months."

They chanted slogans against the GCC-brokered initiative that granted Saleh the immunity from prosecution. They also demanded the dismissal of corrupt officials loyal to Saleh.

Nearly the country's all state-controlled departments, including ministries, universities, facilities and military barracks, witnessed strikes after the formation of the new opposition-led coalition government.

The initiative was signed by Saleh and the opposition in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 23. Under the deal, the 33-year-ruler retains the title of honorary president for 90 days before his resignation and enjoys immunity from prosecution afterward.

Despite the deal, Saleh faced almost daily protests calling for his prosecution and removal of officials loyal to him. (PNA/Xinhua) RMA/LAM/rsm

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