04-09-2005, 04:48 PM #1
Protest. 10's of 1000's of Iraqi's want the US out.
Protesters call for U.S. pullout in Iraq
By TRACI CARL
Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Tens of thousands of supporters of a militant Shiite cleric filled central Baghdad's streets Saturday and demanded that American soldiers go home, marking the second anniversary of Baghdad's fall with shouts of "No, no to Satan!"
To the west of the capital, 5,000 protesters issue similar demands in the Sunni Triangle city of Ramadi, reflecting a growing impatience with the U.S.-led occupation and the slow pace of returning control to an infant Iraqi government.
The protest in Baghdad's famous Firdos Square was the largest anti-American demonstration since the U.S.-led invasion, but the turnout was far less than the 1 million called for by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
"I do not accept having occupation forces in my country," said protester Ali Feleih Hassan, 35. "No one accepts this. I want them out. They have been here for two years, and now they have to set a timetable for their withdrawal."
President Bush has said he will not pull troops out of Iraq until the security situation has improved.
Tens of thousands of people spilled into the streets of central Baghdad, waving Iraqi flags and climbing onto an abstract sculpture said to represent freedom and built on the spot where Saddam Hussein's statue once stood.
The protest marked a return to the limelight for al-Sadr, who had been relatively quiet since his Mahdi Army militiamen signed truces last year with U.S.-led forces after deadly clashes. Officials said the cleric did not attend because of security concerns. He has stayed close to his home in the holy city of Najaf since the U.S.-led assault on his militia in August.
No major violence was reported during Saturday's demonstration, which the Iraqi Interior Ministry agreed to protect. U.S. soldiers kept watch from behind concrete-and-barbed wire barriers.
Mahdi Army militiamen searched people entering the demonstration area as Iraqi policemen stood to the side.
Protesters burned the U.S. flag as well as cardboard cutouts of Bush and Saddam. Three effigies representing Saddam, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair - all handcuffed and dressed in red Iraqi prison jumpsuits that signified they had been condemned to death - were placed on a pedestal, then symbolically toppled like the Saddam statue two years before.
Others acted out reports of prison abuse at the hands of American soldiers. Photos released last year showing U.S. soldiers piling naked inmates in a pyramid at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison have tarnished the military's reputation both here and around the world.
"Force the occupation to leave from our country," one banner read in English.
The Shiite protesters called for a jailed Saddam to face justice, holding up framed photos of al-Sadr's father, a prominent cleric executed by the ousted Iraqi leader's regime.
Al-Sadr - whose supporters are largely impoverished, young Shiites - was once wanted by U.S forces after he urged his militia to fight American troops. Despite his popularity in some parts of Iraqi society, he has fewer followers than Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country's most revered Shiite cleric.
Shiites make up 60 percent of Iraq's estimated 26 million people but were targeted under Saddam. Thousands were killed by Iraqi security forces.
They have risen to power in Iraq's new interim government, which named Shiite Arab Ibrahim al-Jaafari as its prime minister Thursday.
Sunni Muslim clerics also called on their followers to protest Saturday, and a large crowd gathered in the central city of Ramadi, a Sunni stronghold. Iraq's Sunni minority was dominant under Saddam and is believed to make up the backbone of the country's insurgency.
Sheikh Harth Al-Dhari, the secretary general of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, praised both the al-Sadr protest, as well as the Sunni demonstration, telling Al-Jazeera satellite television: "We hail the demonstrations organized by the Iraqi people on the second black anniversary of their country's occupation."
Also, a car bomb detonated near a police patrol in Mosul, killing at least two policemen and injuring 13 civilians, Dr. Baha al-Deen al-Bakry of the Jumhouri hospital said.
Brig. Gen. Watheq Ali, deputy police chief of the Nineveh province, said the blast was an assassination attempt against him, although he was unhurt. He said a suicide car bomber rammed a car into the rear vehicle in his seven-car police convoy while it was stopped at a traffic light.
At least five people were killed late Friday when gunmen opened fire on their bus in Latifiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said. Babil province police force spokesman Capt. Khalid Muthana said the victims were Iraqi soldiers dressed in civilian clothing, but Saleh Sarhan, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said the victims were civilians.
Also, U.S. Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., visited Iraq and praised al-Jaafari.
"We feel that he is very optimistic about what is going to happen, and we are, too," he said.
Al-Jaafari said negotiators were still working out who would get key Cabinet posts, adding that a Kurdish candidate would lead the Foreign Ministry while the Shiite-led United Iraqi ******** would get the Interior Ministry, which oversees security for the country.
"The concept of security during the Saddam era was different," al-Jaafari said. "So we have to redefine the concept of security, and from now on the security is the security of the citizen, factory, and shop - not the ruler."
In a sign of the continuing battle to train the region's security forces, two traffic policemen in Fallujah got into a fistfight Saturday with Interior Ministry security forces, and one officer was fatally shot, Lt. Mohammed Odai said. It was unclear what caused the fight.
04-09-2005, 07:08 PM #2
Let's get out asap fuk'em I say
04-09-2005, 07:12 PM #3Originally Posted by 1victor
04-09-2005, 07:43 PM #4
If we leave it will be the most uncivil place on the planet. I think we should of never went. Since we are there we need to finish the job.
04-09-2005, 08:19 PM #5Senior Member
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Yeah I think it would be good for us to finally clean up our mess and get home. I think we are just waiting for everything to stabilize.
Causasian posted some pics and stuff of this.
04-09-2005, 08:36 PM #6Originally Posted by Lozgod
04-09-2005, 08:41 PM #7Senior Member
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04-10-2005, 04:32 PM #8AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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that just al- sadyrs nuts and he is doing that because he cant mount an effective militia campaign anymore - the other shia clerics have told him go away little boy - but he sure would like the US to leave before the Iraqi army/police really hits its stride because the first thing that they will deal with is groups like his - so he cant use his militia to gain legitimate political power
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