First Published: 2003-04-23

 
Iraqi Shiites protest US-led occupation
 

Clerics call for peaceful demonstration in Shiite holy city of Karbala to protest against foreign occupation.

 

Middle East Online

Pilgrims sound their drums during the 40th day of mourning for Hussein

KARBALA, Iraq - Iraqi clerics called fresh anti-US protests Wednesday at the climax of a pilgrimage by hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims.

In the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Baghdad, loudspeaker trucks had been touring since Tuesday evening calling for a huge anti-US demonstration the following morning.

"We invite you to join a peaceful protest against the foreign occupation which will leave from the south gate of the Imam Hussein mausoleum," the city's main shrine, the loud-hailers said.

Even before the kick-off time for the rally, chants of "No to America and Saddam, yes to Islam" rang out around the city, from which US troops have kept a discreet distance throughout the pilgrimage.

Organizing committee member Sheikh Raed Haidari said the protest would also target Iraqi National Congress chief Ahmad Chalabi, a deeply secular Shiite regarded by the US military as a possible future leader of Iraq.

"We refuse occupation, we want an elected government that represents the people," Sheikh Raed said.

In a development likely to further inflame tensions between the coalition and Iraq's majority Shiite community, a prominent cleric charged that he had been beaten by US troops.

"Our arrest by the Americans was worse than the arrests that Saddam ordered against our students," Sheikh Mohammed al-Fartusi told Abu Dhabi television.

Fartusi, whose followers said he was detained Sunday along with five other Shiites, reappeared in Baghdad on Tuesday to cheers from hundreds of supporters who had held protests for two days.

"We were beaten .. spent a night with our hands tied behind our backs," Fartusi said, adding however that an American officer did turn up and offer an apology.

"It was disgusting. Despite that none of our young men has pointed a weapon against America ... but next time, God alone knows what popular anger could lead to?" the cleric warned.

US officials have said they could not confirm Fartusi's arrest, but reports that the prominent mullah had been detained infuriated Shiites.

 

Iraq rejects US criticism of security forces over defeat in Ramadi

Soldier kills comrades in Tunisia barracks shooting

Fierce fighting rocks Yemen as peace hopes fade out

Fukushima nuclear plant wins Qatar contract

UAE launches strategic framework for national space agency

Netanyahu names rightist ally as new Foreign Ministry chief

Hezbollah captures hilltops from Qaeda wing in Syria

Saudi Shiites hold mass funeral for victims of mosque bombing

Sudan targets newspapers in major media crackdown

Iran looks forward to total lifting of sanctions

Syria regime launches air raids around Palmyra

Hezbollah urges broad support for ‘existential battle’ in Syria

Olmert sentenced to eight months for corruption

Nobel Prize-winning John Nash killed in car crash

Blow to Yemen peace efforts as UN conference postponed

US accuses Iraq forces lacking will to fight IS

Weakened by war, Syria regime appears ready for ‘de facto partition’

Iran army ‘needs bigger budget to counter IS’

Saudi Shiites refuse to be provoked by deadly mosque bombing

Iran denies agreement on inspection of military sites

Emirati aid shipment arrives in Yemen port city of Aden

GCC denies air campaign against IS terrorists has failed

Tripoli leaders use migrant issue as they yearn for recognition

‘Islamic State’ takes full control of Iraq-Syria border crossing

Saudi king vows to punish those behind bombing at Shiite mosque

Sudan's Islamists protest against el-Sisi

Saudi mosque attack intended to fan sectarian tension

Islamic State claims Saudi mosque bombing

Israel solicits Platini to sway FIFA

Islamic State reinforces ‘caliphate’ with control of borders

Israeli deputy FM: 'All of it is ours'

Iraqi forces to launch Ramadi offensive

Tunis asks Rome to extradite terror suspect

Suicide bomb attack on Saudi Shiite mosque

Saudi-led coalition warplanes pound Sanaa outskirts

Shebab gunmen raid Kenya village

Kuwait businessman Khorafi dies at 75

IS fighters attack Iraq forces east of Ramadi

Obama offers Tunisia closer security ties

Yemen air strikes continue as Iran calls for talks

Israeli court orders release of Khalida Jarrar

Netanyahu meets with Arab leader Ayman Odeh

U.S. sanctions two companies linked to Iran's plane purchases

Iran supports Yemen talks, denounces foreign interference

IS militants call for attacks on Egypt's judges