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Anti-US protests erupt again in Baghdad
Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2003

-- Al Jazeera

For the second successive day, hundreds of agitated Baghdad residents gathered around the Palestinian Hotel to register their disapproval against the reigning anarchy and lack of essential services in the Iraqi capital.

"This is no freedom," chanted the protestors as heavily armed US marines stood by edgily on the other side of barbed wire separating them from the angry locals.

An Iraqi confronts a US soldier

"No to America, No to Saddam," cried the protestors, in their strongest protest to date of the tumultuous events that have overtaken the city in the past few days since the US-led forces rolled into the city centre and the rule of law collapsed.

Reporting from the heart of Baghdad, Al Jazeera televisionís Mahir Abdullah said that the crowd had continued to build up around the hotel, considered a prominent landmark in the city, since early morning.

Many in the crowd yelled at the US marines, asking "where is our future" while others demanded security.

Tempers ran high in Baghdad on the day for other reasons. Already agitated over the continued absence of water and electricity, edgy residents got angrier still with worsening traffic jams. With more cars returning to the streets and US military checkpoints painfully slowing down the traffic, many grew impatient and angry.

Meanwhile the remnants of Iraqi police have joined forces with US Marines to start joint patrols in an attempt to restore some semblance of order. Iraqi police cars accompanied by two US Marine Humvee vehicles were dispatched from the local police academy to various parts of the city, hit by looting. Some 200 Iraqi officers had reported for duty on Monday.

The patrolling has begun to yield results. No fresh looting was reported though tell-tale signs of the plunder in the last few days were visible everywhere. Neighborhood vigilantes still stood guard against gangs of looters.

Life in the scarred capital appears to be limping back to some normalcy. In Karada near central Baghdad, the streets were full with shoppers haggling with street vendors selling vegetables. Some shops had also opened up after several days of forced closure.

But life still remained unbearably difficult. A young boy searched his neighborhood to get a bucket of water. The pumps did not work because there was no electricity. -- Al Jazeera


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