On anniversary of Saddam’s fall, Iraqi protesters vent against US…

Baghdad – Tens of thousands of Iraqis crowded into the square Thursday where Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled, along with his regime, six years ago. Waving posters of Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and demanding that President Obama fulfill his promise to withdraw US troops, their presence underscored the eagerness of many Iraqis to see the US leave – but also their apprehension about what comes next, especially after a week of bombings that have marred months of relative calm.

The demonstrators in Firdos Square were mostly young men, jubilant despite the pouring rain. Halfway up the decaying green concrete sculpture that replaced the towering image of Saddam Hussein, high school student Karar Abdul Hussein, himself symbolic of the new Iraq, clambered up to get a better view and wave an Iraqi flag.

“We were so happy when they brought down the statue, but now we want the occupation to end. The Americans are very tough against the Iraqis,” he says after being persuaded to climb back down and talk.
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