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Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA , Guillaume MARTIN , Lucas MENGET

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2008-12-10

In this slum suburb of Baghdad, heartland of firebrand Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, residents burn the Stars and Stripes as their impatience at the occupation threatens to boil over. Our special correspondents take the pulse.

“No to America, no to Israel” chanted thousands of people gathered at a political rally in the heart of Sadr City, a stronghold of radical Shiites in Baghdad.


Partisans of Moqtada al-Sadr gather for Friday's prayer in Sadr City, 31 October 2008


While many Iraqis see the withdrawal of American troops in the near future  a catastrophe, supporters of radical Shiite Moqtada al-Sadr continue calling for the troop withdrawal, often in a violent manner.

As America prepares to elect its next president, the Shiite movement continues to show its determination by burning the American flag.


Militants loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr burn a US flag in Sadr City after Friday's prayer, 31 October 2008


However, just as the rally is about to finish, Cleric Jassem El Moutairi, member of Sadr’s political bureau, tries to temper the angry calls for withdrawal.

“Obama must be honest with the Iraqis and withdraw the soldiers from the Iraqi soil, and with them all the foreign troops” says Moutiari “ then we’ll look at America differently”.


A street in Sadr City, Baghdad, 31 October 2008


Sadr City, Baghdad, 31 October 2008


Date created : 2008-11-03