Iraqis Protest US Occupation-English

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Iraqi demonstrators have staged massive anti-US rallies in Baghdad to protest the controversial US-proposed security deal. The rallies were held as the security pact nears its final stages. Nearly a million demonstrators from different cities of the war-torn country participated in the rallies. Denouncing the American occupation of Iraq, the crowds shouted anti-US slogans and called for ending the US presence in the oil-rich country. "Get out occupier! We demand an end to the occupation!" shouted protesters. The move comes a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent the draft of the security deal to the parliament for final approval. Last week Iraqi clerics including the anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a nationwide demonstration on October 18. On Friday, several Sunni and Shia clerics spoke out against the deal, as opposition, among Iraqis from all walks of life, was growing against it. The clerics argued that the Iraqi public knew little about the terms of the deal which could change the future of the nation. Meanwhile, Sadr Eddin al-Qzbangi, a confidant of Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani said Friday that the Ayatollah has “expressed concerns about the secret provisions of the agreement." Al-Sistani has also said any accord must have national consensus. Al-Qzbangi said that although al-Sistani has repeatedly called for clarification of the deal, the details have not been released. Al-Qzbangi urged the Iraqi parliament to study all the terms of the agreement very carefully. The draft accord includes a timeline for US withdrawal by the end of 2011 and gives Baghdad limited authority to try US contractors and soldiers for major crimes committed off-duty and off-base

Added by nowarcanada on 19-10-2008
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