Thousands rally in Iraq against US troop presence

The protesters are demanding US military leave Iraq at the end of the year.

Updated: May 26, 2011, 14:16 PM IST

Baghdad: Tens of thousands of followers of a Shi’ite anti-American cleric are rallying in Baghdad, demanding the US military leave Iraq at the end of the year.

Thursday`s demonstration by Muqtada al-Sadr`s supporters comes as Iraqi leaders weigh whether they should ask the US troops to stay on.

Washington is pushing Baghdad for a quick decision on whether to keep some of the 46,000 soldiers currently in Iraq beyond a December 31 departure deadline to ensure security.

The US military counted about 300 busloads of people from Iraq`s Shi’ite south converging on eastern Baghdad`s Sadr City for the demonstration.

US, Israeli and British flags are painted on the neighbourhood’s roads to be stomped on by marchers in a show of defiance.

Bureau Report