Security Tightened for Iraqi Protests

Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr carry their national flags as they arrive at Najaf i i

Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr carry their national flags as they arrive at Najaf. Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images. hide caption

itoggle caption Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images.
Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr carry their national flags as they arrive at Najaf

Iraqi supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr carry their national flags as they arrive at Najaf.

Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images.

Six more American troops died in Iraq Sunday, while dozens of Iraqis died in attacks around the country.

The soldiers were on patrol in Diyala province when they were killed by an explosion near their vehicle.

No vehicles will be allowed in Baghdad Monday, on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's statue in central Baghdad — an event many say marked the end of his regime. Authorities hope to thwart violence at any large gatherings commemorating Monday's anniversary.

A number of rallies are planned. A protest in the holy city of Najaf called by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr

will likely be the largest. Thousands of Iraqi Shiites have descended on Najaf. Many are coming from Baghdad. The main road linking the two cities has been clogged with buses, cars and pedestrians. Some are choosing to walk the roughly 100 miles to Najaf.

Sadr himself is not expected to attend the protest. He rarely attends public events. But he is expected to issue a statement condemning what he calls the "occupation of Iraq" by U.S. troops.

Sunday, Sadr called on Iraq's security forces to stop fighting alongside American troops in the southern city of Diwaniyah. Sadr's militia recently took control of Diwaniyah. U.S. and Iraqi forces have clashed with the Mahdi Army there for the past three days, hoping to regain control of the city.

Sadr has also asked Iraqis to hang the country's flag at their homes and businesses as a sign of unity among sects and ethnicities.

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