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Iraq Protests Draw Thousands

Security extraordinarily tight
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2011 4:39 PM CST

(Newser) – Thousands of people took to the streets across Iraq today, despite a distinctly intensified security effort. About 2,000 gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square for example, even though the route there was blocked with razorwire and dozens of checkpoints, the LA Times reports. Protesters waved images of Baghdad’s slums, played music, and shouted insults about Nouri al-Maliki. There was even a mime performance.

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Thousands of police, soldiers and armored vehicles also lined the streets. “There were many people who wanted to participate but who were prevented,” said one teacher, who said she feared the security forces. Last week, more than a dozen protesters were killed, and 13 journalists arrested. Today crowds were smaller and there were no reports of bloodshed. In Basra riot police reportedly beat two Iraqi cameramen, but in Baghdad security forces actively protected the journalists present. (Read more Baghdad stories.)

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