Iraqis, by the thousands, danced and cheered Wednesday, in the streets of Baghdad celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein. Others looted stores and government buildings. Coalition forces were welcomed with flowers, smiles and euphoria.
Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 has the world witnessed scenes like those in the heart of Baghdad.
With the help of U.S. troops, a crowd of Iraqis toppled a huge statue of Saddam Hussein in the heart of the capital.
A short while later a group of Iraqis was seen dragging the head of the statue through the streets while others danced on its marble base.
In fact, there was dancing and cheering throughout Baghdad as thousands took to the streets in jubilation, denouncing the former Iraqi leader and tearing down images of the toppled dictator.
An elderly man was seen beating a poster of Saddam Hussein. Another kicked it, while a third man spit on it.
A young man held a sign that read "Bye, Bye Saddam."
Iraqis, crowded into trucks and cars, drove through the streets waving guns and Iraqi flags and shouting anti-Saddam slogans.
Such displays up until just a few days ago might have resulted in death. But members of the Republican Guard, internal security or even police were nowhere to be seen. And some Iraqis took advantage of the situation by looting government offices and stores, stealing furniture, food and anything of value.
On the outskirts of Baghdad, small arms fire could be heard as coalition troops battled disorganized pockets of resistance.
In the city, other coalition forces continued to extend their control over the capital. And they did so in front of cheering, smiling Iraqis who, in some cases, mobbed the U.S. led troops while gesturing V-for-victory signs.
Some Iraqi mothers lifted their babies for U.S. soldiers to kiss. Children reached to touch the tanks.
U.S. military officials say the war is not over and warn that Saddam loyalists are holding out in the north and still pose a threat.