Thousands protest against new security deal in Iraq

October 18th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Oct 18 (DPA) Tens of thousands of supporters of militant Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrated Saturday in Baghdad against the draft security deal being considered by the Iraqi and US legislatures.Al-Sadr called for all Iraqis to reject the deal, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), saying that it would only prolong the occupation of Iraq.

The cleric appealed to the Iraqi parliament not to adopt the bill.

Demonstrators chanted slogans such as “No No No to America!”, “No No No to Israel” and “occupiers out”.

Opposition grew Friday amongst Shia clergy, concerned that the proposed deal did not support the rights of the Iraqi state.

It remains unclear if there is enough support in the Iraqi legislature to pass the agreement, as Sunni religious figures have also issued judgements against it.

Topics to be decided in the agreement include: How long the US military can hold prisoners without charging them; whether the Iraqi government should be informed in advance of operations; and whether US soldiers should be subject to US or Iraqi criminal law.

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