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Iraqis demand end to US military stay
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 05:45:15 GMT
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Thousands of Iraqis protest the US military presence in their country. (File photo)
Thousands of people have assembled to wage protest rallies in northern Iraq, demanding an end to the extended US military presence in their country.

Around 5,000 people took to the streets in the main square of northern city of Mosul to demonstrate against the eight-year presence of US troops in their homeland, Reuters reported Sunday.

The demonstrators were joined by provincial council members and tribal leaders.

"We are trying to put pressure on the government to not even think about extending the presence of Americans, who brought havoc to our country," said the chief of Mosul's Badrani tribe, Sheikh Barzan al-Badrani.

"The second demand is for the release of detainees held in Iraqi prisons... and the other is to make reforms in the Iraqi government. We do not accept corrupt officials and regret that we voted for them," he added.

Tribes from other Iraqi cities also joined the rally in Mosul to express the popular demand.

Anti-US protests in the northern Iraqi city have persisted since April 9, which marks the day that the statue of executed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in a major square in the capital Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier said Baghdad had no plans to extend the presence of US troops in the country beyond December 2011.

About 47,000 American soldiers are currently stationed in the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.

The US has long eyed a prolonged stay in war-torn Iraq and has expressed reservations about withdrawing all American troops from the country by the end-of-the-year deadline.

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