NYC protest gets heated when Yemen leader is seen

NEW YORK (AP) — A protest against embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside a luxury hotel in New York got heated Sunday when demonstrators saw him leave the building, with one charging toward him and another throwing a shoe.

“Everybody is living in fear of this guy at home, but here, he’s getting good treatment!” said Yemeni immigrant Nasser Almroot, a Brooklyn grocer.

The dozen angry protesters were kept behind police barricades across the street from the Ritz-Carlton hotel, which was teeming with security guards, both inside and on the sidewalk where Saleh passed.

The 69-year-old leader is visiting the United States for medical treatment.

He exited the hotel on Central Park South on Sunday afternoon and waved and smiled sardonically toward the yelling protesters — even blowing them a kiss. Suddenly, one of them tried to charge across the street but was restrained by police, who wrestled him to the ground.

“He can’t help it, the killer is here,” Almroot said.

As the man bolted out, a shoe flew in Saleh’s direction. Showing the sole of a shoe is an insult in Arab culture, because it is on the lowest part of the body, the foot. To hit someone with a shoe is seen as even worse.

Saleh got into his car and his motorcade left for an unknown destination.

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