Iraqis burn effigy of Bush

Associated Press

Tens of thousands of supporters of an anti-U.S. cleric burned an effigy of former President George W. Bush on Thursday and demanded that U.S. troops leave Iraq, in a rally marking the sixth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces.

Cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose Shiite Muslim militia fought U.S. troops intermittently until a cease-fire was declared last May, had called on Iraqis to turn out for the protest at Firdos Square, where a statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled on April 9, 2003.

Protesters set fire to American flags and to Bush’s effigy.

Nevertheless, the tone of the speeches seemed less hostile than those at rallies during Bush’s presidency, when Sadr supporters would not refer to the U.S. leader as president.


“We demand that President Obama stand with the Iraqi people by ending the occupation to fulfill his promises,” Sadr aide Assad Nasiri said.