Accessibility links

Breaking News

Shi'ite Rally Marks Anniversary of Fall of Baghdad

Tens of thousands of supporters of an anti-U.S. Shi'ite cleric have rallied in Baghdad to protest the U.S. military presence six years after American forces captured the Iraqi capital.

Backers of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr gathered Thursday at Firdous Square, where Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled on April 9, 2003.

An aide to al-Sadr relayed a message from the cleric, believed to be in Iran, describing the U.S. presence in Iraq as a "crime against all Iraqis."

The protest was in marked contrast to the jubilation on the square six years ago, when Iraqis cheered as U.S. Marines pulled Saddam's statue down.

The U.S. military is scheduled to withdraw from Iraq in 2011.