- Title: IRAQ: UNITED STATES FORCES OPEN FIRE ON SHI'ITE PROTESTERS
- Date: 7th April 2004
- Summary: (W5) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (APRIL 4, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. PROTESTERS GATHERING AT FIRDOAS SQUARE IN BAGHDAD 0.05 2. PROTESTERS BEATING THEIR CHESTS IN UNISON WITH ISLAMIC SLOGANS 0.39 3. SLV PEOPLE PRAYING IN STREET/ U.S. TANK BEHIND BARBED WIRE BARRICADE IN FRONT OF PEOPLE PRAYING; PROTESTERS PRAYING 0.58 4. SLV U.S. TANK ON SCENE; PROTESTERS PRAYING; PROTESTERS RUNNING IN STREET 1.11 5. SLV U.S. SOLDIER AIMING ON TOP OF TANK ON SITE/ ANOTHER LOOKING THROUGH BINOCULAR, SOUND OF PROTESTERS CHANTING; SLV PROTESTERS IN STREET; MINIBUS SPEEDING AWAY CARRYING WOUNDED MAN; SLV CAR CARRYING WOUNDED MAN; SLV PROTESTERS PAN TO PEOPLE RUNNING/ AUDIBLE GUNFIRE; SLV PROTESTERS IN STREET (6 SHOTS) 1.58 (W5) NAJAF, IRAQ (RECENT - APRIL 2, 2004) (REUTERS) 6. SHI'ITE CLERIC MOQTADA AL-SADR AND WORSHIPPERS AT KUFA MOSQUE CHANTING FOR HIM/CLOSE-UP OF AL-SADR; WORSHIPPERS PRAYING; MV AL-SADR PRAYING 2.30 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 22nd April 2004 13:00
- Location: BAGHDAD AND NAJAF, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA9JUFV9SFNL66EFFCBLW664FR3
- Story Text: U.S. forces opened fire on Shi'ite protesters in
U.S. forces opened fire on hundreds of followers of
the firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who was protesting in
central Baghdad on Sunday (April 4, 2004), as clashes at a
similar demonstration in the southern town of Najaf left 19
dead, witnesses said.
Minutes before, U.S. forces aimed guns at the
protesters from behind barbed wire near Baghdad's central
Firdos square, and Iraqi security forces were also
monitoring the demonstration by supporters of radical
Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr.
It was not immediately clear whether U.S. or Iraqi
security forces opened fire on the demonstration in
An ambulance siren was heard leaving the area shortly
The demonstrators, carrying pictures of the young
cleric, converged on al-Firdos Square in central Baghdad
early in the day. Three hours later, the number increased
as the people started to gather for prayer.
U.S. forces, fearing violent outbursts, took positions
on the rooftops as protesters occupied an observation post
and raised a black flag and picture of al-Sadr.
The U.S. forces watched from behind barbed wire
The international coalition count on the goodwill of
Shi'ites, who comprise about 60 percent of Iraq's 25
million people, to counterbalance a tenuous security
situation stemming from a deadly insurgency by Sunni
Muslims north and west of the capital.
The Shi'ites protest what they see as the coalition's
targeting of Moqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shi'ite cleric
who has spoken out against U.S. presence in Iraq.
Demonstrations outside Baghdad's Green Zone, where the
U.S.-led coalition is headquartered, prompted the coalition to
temporarily restrict travel in the area, fearing
Al-Sadr, a radical Shi'ite cleric, has often spoken out
against the U.S. occupation and has wide influence,
especially among poor urban members of Iraq's Shi'ite
Al-Sadr also announced his active support for two of
Israel's biggest enemies, the Palestinian militant group
Hamas and Lebanon-based Hizbollah, during a sermon Friday
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