Iraq call for demo against US presence

Iraqi leaders have called for a mass demonstration against the US-led troop presence on the second anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's government.

    The protesters will gather in Firdos Square

    Preachers called on their congregations to rally in Firdus Square on Saturday in central Baghdad where US troops helped haul down a statue of Saddam Hussein in footage that was beamed around the world.

    Both Shia and Sunni leaders joined forces in calling for the protest.

    Withdrawal demand

    "To mark the anniversary of the start of the occupation, I call on all Iraqis to demonstrate tomorrow in Firdus Square where Saddam's statue was toppled," said Shaikh Abd al-Zahra al-Suwaidi, a supporter of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

    "The rally must be peaceful. You should demand the withdrawal of the occupation forces and press for quicker trials for Saddam Hussein and his aides before an Iraqi court," Suwaidi told worshippers in Baghdad's Sadr City.

    Sunni clerics from the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), which organised a boycott of the January elections, urged followers to join the protest.

    "I ask all Iraqis to join in peaceful demonstrations tomorrow against the occupation," said Shaikh Harith al-Dhari.

    "The people must speak with one voice and say: 'No to the occupation; the occupiers must leave.'

    "Two years have passed and all we see is bloodshed, destruction and looting."

    The AMS has lines of communication to the Sunni Arab fighters operating in Iraq.

    Fighters loyal to al-Sadr mounted two uprisings against US-led troops in central and southern Iraq last year before accepting a truce brokered by the Shia leadership.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".