First Published: 2004-03-19

 
Iraqis stage anti-US demonstration
 

Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites stage joint anti-US protest calling for end to American occupation on eve of war anniversary.

 

Middle East Online

What have the Iraqis gained from this occupation, asked one imam

BAGHDAD - Up to three thousand Iraqi Sunni and Shiite Muslims staged a joint protest here Friday calling for an end to "American occupation" of their country, on the eve of the first anniversary of the US-led war.

They took to the streets in a peaceful march after weekly midday prayers, saying they were opposed to US military presence in Iraq as well as the deposed regime of former leader Saddam Hussein.

"No to Saddam. No to the Americans. Yes to Islam," the worshippers chanted before leaving the Kazimiya mosque, which is home to the mausoleum of Imam Mussa al-Kazem and is the holiest Shiite shrine in Baghdad.

During the service, imam Saeed Hazim al-Araji deplored the situation in Iraq and blamed the post-war situation on the US troops deployed in the country.

"Some Iraqis speak of liberation but most consider that it is an invasion and we are against this occupation," Araji said in his sermon.

"What have the Iraqis gained from this occupation," he asked, listing among the current woes the detention by US troops of Muslim clerics and "10,000 Iraqis" and roadblocks that cripple life in the country.

"We are all time-bombs at the service of the Hawza (the Shiite religious authority)," the imam told the worshippers, urging them to join ranks "with our Sunni brothers" and protest against US presence in Iraq peacefully.

The Americans, he said, "are violating Iraq".

The Shiite worshippers left the mosque and headed for the neighborhood of Azamiya across the Tigris River to link up with Sunni protesters gathered outside one of their mosques.

There they mingled, holding up placards in Arabic and English denouncing "American terrorism".

"Human rights have disappeared" said one sign. Another called for the "end to destruction" in Iraq and a third condemned the "indiscriminate" firing of US troops on suspects in the Iraqi capital.

"Before the war, Iraq had no links whatsoever to international terrorism," Sunni cleric Jawad al-Khalissi said.

"Occupation brought international terrorism to our land," he added, blaming the US presence in Iraq for nearly daily bombings and attacks that have rocked the war-battered country since major combat was declared over last May 1.

Khalissi also denounced the US military for detaining thousands of Iraqi and said: "The Americans refuse to allow journalists to visit thousands of Iraqi prisoners and won't allow them (detainees) to have access to lawyers".

The Shiites, who were the target of deadly attacks on March 2 in Kazimiya, blamed the US troops for the lack of security in the country.

The protesters also denounced an interim constitution signed on March 8 by the US-appointed Governing Council and called for speedy elections in Iraq.

 

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Erdogan ‘not welcome’ to campaign in Austria

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket attack

Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Film on Syria's White Helmets wins Academy Award

Libya PM to visit Moscow seeking better ties

Conditions in Libya driving migration to Europe

Is Jordan signalling a shift in its Syria strategy?

11 killed in Syria regime raids

Polisario dismisses Rabat pullback from contested zone

Israeli checkpoint guards shoot Palestinian woman

Saudi Aramco to invest $7 billion in Malaysia oil refinery

Referendum set to be tight race for Turkey’s Erdogan

Cyber attacks in Gulf countries on the rise

Iraqi forces reach key Mosul bridge

UN urges negotiating Syria rivals to avoid insults

EU border agency says migrant rescues encourage traffickers

Israeli officials brace for Gaza war report

Key Egyptian legislator says poverty more dangerous than terrorism

UN chief says disregard for rights 'spreading'

GCC geopolitics spike military sales at IDEX

ISIS has brought Saudi Arabia and the United States closer

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank