Iraqis rally, call for U.S. forces to leave
Tens of thousands of people waving Iraqi flags staged a peaceful rally in the southern city of Najaf on Monday to demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces, four years to the day after Baghdad fell to invading American troops.
The streets of the Iraqi capital itself were largely empty after authorities clamped a 24-hour ban on vehicles to prevent any insurgent attacks, especially car bombings...
Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, told reporters travelling with President George W. Bush to Arizona from Texas:
"I note today that Sadr called for massive protests. I'm not sure that we've seen that, those numbers materialize and the numbers that he was seeking... But Iraq, four years on, is now a place where people can freely gather and express their opinions, and that was something they could not do under Saddam."
Gee, Gordo - maybe the turnout was hampered a bit by the fact that the city where most of the people are was under a 24-hour lockdown. But hey, at least those tens of thousands of protesters were free to tell you to get the hell out of their country, right?