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Bomb Scare Forces Clearing of Baghdad Convention Center - 2003-07-19

VOA's Alisha Ryu was at the Conference Center in Baghdad Saturday morning when the building was cleared by a bomb scare and she also encountered a noisy but peaceable demonstration from Iraqis. Alisha spoke to David Weber in London.

DW: I gather something has happened at the Convention Center?

AR: There were a group of about 200 demonstrators out in front, demanding among other things the release of various sheikhs who had been imprisoned in recent weeks and demanding to see a gentleman named Mr. Harley. No one is quite sure who Mr. Harley is, but they were quite adamant that they wanted to see him. And the group started walking toward the Convention Center. They came up to the check point at the entrance to the Center; the guards had to push them back and told them to stay back. And at the same time, they were told there was a bomb threat inside the Convention Center. The Convention Center is of course where journalists gather to do all the press conferences, and this was the site of a grenade attack some time ago, so there was already heightened security, but this latest threat I am sure is going to heighten the security even more here.

DW: Alisha, I understand there was another casualty suffered by American forces there?

AR: The soldier is identified as being part of the 1st Armored Division. He was standing guard in front of a bank this morning. He came under small arms and rocket propelled grenade attack. He was wounded at the site. He was medivacked out into a military medical facility, where he was pronounced dead.