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Yemenis Cheer With Saleh out of Country Yemenis Cheer With Saleh out of Country

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Defense / foreign affairs

Yemenis Cheer With Saleh out of Country

A Yemeni anti-government protester with the slogan "Ali escaped" painted on his body flashes victory signs in Sanaa on Sunday as people gather to celebrate what they said was the fall of Yemen's regime. Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wounded in a blast, has left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.(AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Jim Tankersley
June 5, 2011

Crowds in Yemen took to the streets on Sunday to cheer President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s flight from the country to Saudi Arabia, where Yemeni officials said the embattled president was seeking medical treatment.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that celebratory fireworks lit up what protesters are calling Change Square in the capital of Sanaa on Saturday night. But several news outlets said confusion reigned over whether Saleh’s departure spelled the demise of a regime that has clashed bloodily with protesters since January.

“It’s not clear yet if this is the end of Saleh,” Al Jazeera reported, noting that the extent of Saleh’s injuries remain obscured, and that, while Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi had officially assumed leadership of the country, it was unclear “who’s really in charge” of the government.

 

“But every hour that passes with Saleh out of the country,” Al Jazeera said, “brings Yemen closer to the end of his 33-year rule.”

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