Protesters rallied outside a luxury New York City hotel Thursday to denounce President Obama’s decision to allow Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the United States for medical treatment. Saleh is believed to be staying in the Ritz-Carlton overlooking Central Park. Yemen’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakkul Karman, addressed the protest via cellphone from Yemen and called for Saleh to be tried by the International Criminal Court.
Amel Ahmed, Yemeni American Coalition for Change: “Dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh is staying at this hotel, so we came out to protest the fact that our government would allow him into this country, to begin with. We don’t feel that he should be here in the United States of America. We think it sends the wrong message to the Middle East. If you’re saying that you support democracy in the Middle East and you’re anti-extremism in the Middle East, then you shouldn’t be supporting dictators. You should be supporting people on the ground who are calling for democracy. I mean, for years, we’ve criticized the Muslim world for turning to extremism and not sharing the same democratic values. Meanwhile, we have an entire generation that’s rising up and demanding democracy, and meanwhile, we’re here hosting a dictator in a five-star hotel. I mean, the message is conflicting, and there should be a consistent message coming from the White House.”