Tens of thousands protest in Baghdad to demand U.S. troops to leaveMay 27th, 2011 - 4:46 am ICT by BNO News
BAGHDAD (BNO NEWS) — Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Baghdad on Thursday to demand that American troops leave the country by the end of the year, local media reported.
The Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported that the demonstration began at around 8 a.m. local time when protesters, mainly followers of Shiite Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr, gathered for a military-style parade and chanted anti-American slogans.
The protesters waved flags and chanted “No, no, America. No, no, occupation. Yes, yes, Iraq. Yes, yes, Zahra’a. Yes, yes, Mahdi.” Zahra’a was the name of Fatimatul-Zahraa, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed and wife of his cousin and grand-son, Imam Ali Bin-Abi Taleb.
Nearly all of the protesters who participated in the parade were wearing black costumes with the Iraqi flag on their chests. There were no reports of incidents during the demonstration.
Salah al-Obeidy, a spokesman for the Sadrist Trend, told Aswat al-Iraq on behalf of Muqtada al-Sadr that the demonstration was taking place to demand the departure of American troops from Iraq by the end of the current year. In the event that Americans stay, al-Obeidy said, the Sadr Movement’s Al-Mahdi Army Militia restore its military resistance.
In August last year, all remaining U.S. combat troops left Iraq while up to 50,000 others remained. They are currently scheduled to leave the country by the end of the year.
“The United States is working towards the full implementation of the Security Agreement of 2008,” said U.S. military spokeswoman Staff Sergeant Kelli Lane. “We are on track to fully comply with the terms of that agreement by withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of December 2011. We are here at the request of the Iraqi Government.”
Lane said peaceful protests such as those on Thursday are an opportunity for the Iraqi people to have a voice. “In a democracy every party has the right to be heard and all the people should have a voice,” she said.
Last month, tens of thousands of people also took to the streets of Baghdad to demand that all U.S. troops leave Iraq. It took place on the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
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