Thousands of Shiites, Sunnis, March Against US in Baghdad
Thousands of Shiites and Sunnis demonstrated in Baghdad after Friday prayers. I caught some of the demonstration on CNN, which reported 7,000 demonstrators, and some of them were carrying pictures of Muqtada al-Sadr. Interestingly, the rallies began at the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kazim in Kazimiyah, a Shiite suburb of the capital, but then the crowds moved to Azamiyah, across the bridge, to meet up with Sunni protesters (Azamiyah is a largely Sunni neighborhood). In the past, there have been occasional ethnic riots between Kazimiyah and Azamiyah, but George Bush has managed to unite them. They demanded an end to the US military presence in Iraq, and the release of Iraqi prisoners being held by the Americans.
The report says
‘ 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”. ‘