Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • Israeli special forces attack Hamas base inside Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament resumes session on key appointments

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • Germany vs Argentina - history and genius clash in World Cup final

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

Anti-US protesters take to Baghdad streets

©

Latest update : 2008-10-18

Thousands of people marched through Baghdad on Saturday to demand that the Iraqi parliament reject a pact that would allow US occupation forces to remain in the country until the end of 2011.

Thousands of followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took to the streets on Saturday in a demonstration against a pact that would allow U.S.  forces to stay in Iraq for three more years.

Marchers waved Iraqi flags and chanted “Yes, yes Iraq! No, no to the occupation!”

“It is a peaceful demonstration, demanding that the occupier leave and the government not sign the pact,” Ahmed al-Masoudi, a Sadrist member of parliament, told Reuters.

Demonstrators set fire to a U.S. flag, but the atmosphere appeared mostly peaceful.

Iraqi authorities said the demonstration was authorised and security had been increased to protect the protesters, who were marching from Sadr’s stronghold of Sadr City in the east of the capital to a nearby public square at a university.

“They have permission from the prime minister and the interior minister to hold a peaceful demonstration,” the government’s Baghdad security spokesman Qassim Moussawi said.

“It is a part of democracy that people can protest freely, but we hope that they will understand the security measures that we have taken to protect them,” he said. Male and female security screeners were in place to search bags on the route.

Sadrists described the event as a rescheduled “million man march” initially called in April when Sadr followers were battling U.S. forces in Baghdad and the south. But now, with little fighting taking place, the numbers appeared much smaller.

Still, the show of strength by Sadr’s followers was a reminder to the government of the hostility among much of the public to the pact with the United States.

The pact would replace a U.N. Security Council resolution authorising the U.S. presence and give Iraq’s elected government authority over the U.S. force for the first time.

It must be approved by Iraq’s parliament, and support is far from assured, even though Iraq won important concessions from Washington over the course of months of negotiations.

U.S. officials have yet to explain the pact in public, but Iraqi leaders have disclosed its contents.

The pact commits the United States to end patrols of Iraqi streets by mid-2009 and withdraw fully from the country by the end of 2011 unless Iraq asks for them to stay, an apparent reversal for a U.S. administration long opposed to deadlines.

It also describes certain conditions under which Iraq would have the right to try U.S. service members in its courts for serious crimes committed while off duty.

In Washington, officials in the administration of President George W. Bush briefed members of Congress about the pact on Friday and sought reassure them that it protects U.S. troops.

“I think there is not reason to be concerned,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters, adding that top military brass were happy with the protections in the pact.

Date created : 2008-10-18

Comments

COMMENT(S)