Iraqis Protest Against U.S. Occupation

April 19, 2010

On April 9, tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to protest the U.S. occupation. Demonstrations were held in Baghdad, Najaf, and other cities and towns across the country on the seven-year anniversary of U.S. troops entering Baghdad.

Prominent slogans at the demonstrations were, "There is no place for occupiers" and "Iraq is for Iraqis". Protestors carried Iraqi flags and chanted, "No, no America, Yes, Yes, Iraq", "Sunni and Shia Muslims, we won't sell this country", and "yes, yes to unity".

Protestors emphasized that their struggle was for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and other foreign troops and private military contractors from Iraq. According to one protestor, Durgham Zeydi, "The U.S. makes promises all of the time. They say they will leave, but they always say it's conditional to events on the ground. What about their bases, will they be here permanently?"

The demonstrations also emphasized Iraqi unity. According to one organizer, Abdel Reda Al Hamid, "The demonstration aims to show there is unity in Iraq. Iraqis are united. Sectarianism is created by occupiers, not only the Americans but other parties. They are trying to divide Iraqis." Another organizer, Sheik Ashraf said, "This rally shows that all of Iraq is united and we should be united, all religions, all groups. We want to tell the occupiers to leave."