Tuesday, April 12, 2005
''Help CNN Count,'' Part 2: ''Up to 300,000 Demonstrate in Baghdad''
"Edmund Sanders reports that the crowds in downtown Baghdad protesting the US troop presence in the country may have been as large as 300,000. If it were even half that, these would be the largest popular demonstrations in Iraq since 1958! To any extent that they show popular sentiment shifting in Shiite areas to Muqtada al-Sadr's position on the American presence, they would indicate that he is winning politically even though the US defeated his militia militarily. The demonstrators demanded a swift trial of Saddam Hussein, a timetable for US withdrawal, the release of Iraqis detained by the US, and an end to the marginalization of the opposition. The demonstrators carried effigies of Saddam Hussein, President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, each labeled "International Terrorist." Ash-Sharq al-Awsat says that the crowds also demanded an end to torture in Iraqi prisons."-from Juan Cole's site, Informed Comment. Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Sanders is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.