Al Jazeera English is reporting that thousands of Iraqi protesters have hit the street in Baghdad after the influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for a “million-strong” march to demand the withdraw of U.S. coalition forces from the country.
NBC News Tehran Bureau Chief & correspondent Ali Arouzi said hundreds of thousands of protesters marched across Baghdad on Friday, demanding U.S. troops leave the country and close all military bases and embassies.
100’s of thousands protest in Baghdad, calling for all US troops to leave Iraq, close all bases & embassies, if they don’t they will be considered an occupying force. pic.twitter.com/C3CqBqpxyD— Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) January 24, 2020
Iraqi Prime Minister Presses U.S. to Discuss Troop Withdrawal
Protestors held signs that read “no, no to America” and “no, no to occupation” amid a sea of nationalism and anti-Americanism erupting across the country’s capital.
Others were heard on loudspeakers blasting the phrase: “Death to America. Death to Israel.”
The presence of U.S. coalition forces in the country has become a hot subject since President Trump launched a drone attack on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, killing both, earlier this month near Baghdad International Airport.
The Green Zone, the International Zone of Baghdad and home of the U.S. embassy, has been peppered with rocket attacks since the killing of Soleimani.
Iraq’s parliament voted to expel all foreign troops, including 5,000 U.S. forces from the country, and asked the government to cancel assistance from the U.S.-led coalition that has been working with the Iraqi Army in the eradication of ISIS.
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