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NYC protest gets heated when Yemen leader is seen

NYC protest gets heated when Yemen leader is seen

February 5th, 2012 in News

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.