Baghdad, April 16: Thousands of Iraqis loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and some civil rights activists have rallied in Baghdad to protest against the US-led attacks on Syria.
The demonstrators on Sunday rallied in Tahrir Square rising Iraqi and Syrian flags in solidarity with the people of Syria, and chanting slogans condemning the bombing against Syria, Xinhua news agency reported.
The protesters held banners reading “No, No, America. No, No, colonialism,” and “America kills Syrian civilians in the name of democracy.” The demonstrators also burned the American flag as a sign of their anger and condemnation of the bombing on a number of sites in Syria.
“In response to the call of Moqtada al-Sadr, our Sadr loyalists as well as Iraqi people are conducting mass rally to protest the aggression launched by America, France and Britain on Syria,” Sheikh Hussein al-Saedi, an organiser of the demonstration, told Xinhua.
“The bombardment on Syrian cities early on Saturday is unjust and a blatant aggression, and is against the international laws and human values,” Saedi said.
Jabra al-Taei, a female civilian activist told Xinhua “Syria is a brother and has been exposed to an aggression by the United States, Britain and France. But unfortunately they forgot that such bombing could threat the lives of civilians.”
“We strongly stand with the Syrian people and have gathered here in Tahrir Square to denounce the aggression against Syria,” said Taei, who is also a candidate in Sadr-backed Saeiroon political bloc for the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Another civil rights activist Saad al-Mousawi told Xinhua “today we took part in a large demonstration to denounce the aggression against the Syrian people, which is an attempt to subjugate peoples of the world. But we are here to show solidarity with the Syrian people.”
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces intensified security measures and blocked the bridges and main roads leading to the Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad.
“The block of the roads and nearby bridges is a precaution measure to prevent any security breach that may target the demonstrators,” a security source anonymously told Xinhua.
Early on Saturday, the US, along with Britain and France, launched missile strikes on Syria over allegations that the Syrian government used poison gas in an attack on the rebel-held town of Douma near the capital Damascus on April 7. The Syrian government has repeatedly denied the allegations.