Iraqis Mark Baghdad's Fall in anti-US protest

Calling for an immediate US withdrawal, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets on Monday, April 9, to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall to the US-led occupation forces.

Iraqis Mark Baghdad's Fall in anti-US protest

Calling for an immediate US withdrawal, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets on Monday, April 9, to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall to the US-led occupation forces.

"No, no, to the occupation, no, no to America," chanted the protestors as they marched through the southern Shiite holy city of Najaf, reported Reuters.

Thousands of Iraqi flag-wavers in Najaf burnt the American flag and spray-painted "May America fall" and "Bush is a dog" on the ground.

"Down with Bush, Down with America" were but a few of the banners carried by the angry Iraqis.

Many in the crowds were seen trampling on and striking US and Israeli flags painted on the ground with their shoes, an act considered one of the worst insults in Arab culture.

Thousands more protestors were marching from nearby Kufa, while others clogged roads as they came by car and bus from Baghdad and other cities in the south.

The US-backed Iraqi government has imposed a 24-hour vehicle ban in Baghdad on the fall anniversary.

All main roads and bridges were deserted as people remained indoors.

On April 9, 2003, the world watched as Iraqis, helped by US soldiers, toppled the 20-foot statue of ousted president Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's central Firdous Square.

A crowd swarmed over what was left of the statue and danced in joy.

Kadhim al-Jubouri, who personally took part in wrecking the statue, had since regretted his action.

"We got rid of a tyrant and tyranny. But we were surprised that after one thief had left, another 40 replaced him," Jubouri told the Washington Post on Monday.

"It's gotten worse," added the father of four. "We can hardly make both ends meet."

Damn US

Many of the Iraqi protestors damned the US occupation forces for the spiraling violence plaguing their country.

"In four years of occupation, our sons have been killed and women made widows," Ahmed al-Mayahie, 39, a Shiite from the southern city of Basra, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The occupier raised slogans saying Iraq is free, Iraq is liberated. What freedom? What liberation? There is nothing but destruction.

"We do not want their liberation and their presence. We tell them to get out of our land."

Four years after the invasion, Iraq is now gripped by a bloody circle of violence, with more than a hundred people being killed on a daily basis.

Only last year, more than 34,000 civilians died in the raging violence that reached a peak in the capital Baghdad.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that one in eight Iraqis had been forced from their homes because of the bloodshed, warning that the numbers are on the rise.

Lawmaker Falah Hassan Shanshil from Sadr's parliamentary bloc damned the US invasion-turned-occupation.

"This crowd has come to reject the American occupation and demand its withdrawal," he said.

Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has called on Iraqis to unite against the American occupation forces.

He also urged Iraqi security forces not to support the "occupier because it is your enemy."

"Iraq has had enough bloodshed. The occupation forces led by the biggest evil, America, is working to sow dissent either directly or through its agents."

The US military says Sadr is in neighboring Iran. His aides say the Shiite leader is in Iraq and have denied suggestions he fled to escape a security crackdown on his Mahdy Army militia.

Mahdi fighters fought gun battles with US and Iraqi forces in Diwaniya at the weekend after the troops swept into neighborhoods to hunt them.

The Pentagon accuses the Mahdi Army of responsibility for sectarian violence and death squads.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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