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Comments by YACCS
Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The real primary

Iraqis protest at handover plan

Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims have marched against coalition proposals for a transfer of power, just hours before the US sought UN backing for the plan.

US administrator Paul Bremer is having talks with UN chief Kofi Annan to try to elicit his support for its plan for an interim selected authority.

He was also seeking the return of UN staff to Iraq, after their withdrawal following bomb attacks last year.

Iraq's Shias majority want direct elections to a transitional government.

The rally in Baghdad came four days after a peaceful protest in Basra demanding direct elections.

Any sustained opposition by Iraq's Shias would cause serious problems for the US, correspondents say.

Monday's protest saw thousands upon thousands of Iraqis marching through the capital, many clasping each other's hands above their heads.

The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says the Shias - who were repressed for decades by Saddam Hussein - fear they will be marginalised again under the US plan, which allows regional bodies created by the Americans to select a transitional parliament.

"Yes, yes to elections; no, no to selection," was one of the main rallying cries.

It doesn't matter who wins the early primaries in the US because it seems the Iraqi primaries are going to be the ones which matter. Ten miles of Shias and Sunnis marching in Baghdad. I think that's going to be a problem for Bush.

posted by Steve @ 10:35:00 AM

10:35:00 AM

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