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Iraqis protest Saudi's Bahrain invasion
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 06:13:54 GMT
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Thousands of Iraqi Shia Muslims carry Bahraini and Iraqi flags as they wage a protest rally in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad on March 20, 2011.
Hundreds of protesters have poured into the streets of Iraq's capital Baghdad to demand the withdrawal of Saudi and other foreign forces from the crisis-hit Bahrain.

The demonstrators marched in Baghdad streets on Monday to express their anger at foreign military interventions in Bahrain in efforts to help the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy stifle weeks of anti-regime protest rallies, Reuters reported.

"Here we are at your command, you, the Bahraini people until victory,” read a placard carried by the crowd.

The anti-government protesters also chanted slogans against Saudi Arabia's 87-year-old King Abdullah, and burnt American and Israeli flags.

"This protest is being held in solidarity with the oppressed Bahraini people who are exposed to despotism, humiliation, killings and fear by the hired Saudi regime, the ones who are occupying Bahraini land," one of the Iraqi protesters, Ali al-Lami, said.

The dispatch of troops from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies of Bahrain has highlighted concerns about possible spillover from the country, where month-old protest rallies seek to break the Western-backed government's monopoly on power.

Saudi and other Arab rulers fear that any concession by Bahrain's rulers could embolden more protests against their own despotic rules.

Recently, mass protests in Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have been demanding government reform.

Foreign military interventions in Bahrain have served as a cause of concern for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has called for a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.

The UN chief has also urged Bahrain's regional neighbors and the international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive to credible reform in Bahrain.

Bahraini opposition groups, including the main bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, have denounced the Saudi military intervention as an invasion of their country.

The US military, which has its Fifth Fleet based there, has avoided describing the foreign troop intervention in Bahrain as an invasion.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

More than 15 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf island nation began in mid-February.

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