Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation
April 10, 2005
On April 9, tens of thousands of people throughout Iraq demonstrated against the U.S. military occupation. The protests were held on the two-year anniversary of U.S. troops entering Baghdad. According to reporters, it was the largest anti-American demonstration seen since the U.S.-led invasion.
In Baghdad, roads throughout the capital were closed to traffic as streets filled with demonstrators. Some demonstrators had travelled hundreds of miles from cities throughout Iraq to attend the rally. In the shadow of the Sheraton and Palestine hotels, home to many foreign officials and journalists, protesters filled Baghdad's Firdos Square and spilled onto nearby avenues. As tens of thousands of demonstrators passed by, U.S. soldiers stood behind blast walls and barbed wire, while U.S. snipers manned rooftop positions.
Thousands in the crowd chanted "No to America" and "No to the occupiers", as they pulled down and burned effigies of U.S. President George W. Bush. "Force the occupation to leave from our country,'' one banner read in English. Some protesters in the crowd acted out reports of prison abuse at the hands of American soldiers.
Other marches were held across the country demanding that U.S. troops leave the country. In the central city of Ramadi, over 5,000 protestors demonstrated in the al-Sufayaa neighborhood and at Anbar University.
One protest speaker accused U.S. military forces of "killing the Iraqi people daily." He demanded "that the occupation troops withdraw from Iraq. "I do not accept having occupation forces in my country," said another protester Ali Feleih Hassan, 35. "No one accepts this. I want them out!"