Tens of thousands of Shiites protest Iraq security deal
Tens of thousands of supporters of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have demonstrated on Saturday in Baghdad against the draft security deal being considered by the Iraqi and US legislatures.
Al-Sadr called for all Iraqis to reject the deal, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), saying that it would only prolong the occupation of Iraq, reported dpa.
The cleric appealed to the Iraqi parliament not to adopt the bill.
Demonstrators chanted slogans such as "No No No to America!", "No No No to Israel" and "occupiers out."
Opposition grew on Friday amongst Shiite clergy, concerned that the proposed deal did not support the rights of the Iraqi state.
It remains unclear if there is enough support in the Iraqi legislature to pass the agreement, as Sunni religious figures have also issued judgements against it.
Topics to be decided in the agreement include: How long the US military can hold prisoners without charging them; whether the Iraqi government should be informed in advance of operations; and whether US soldiers should be subject to US or Iraqi criminal law.