Monday, April 16, 2007

Report: Basra demonstrators promise 3-day sit-in, say 'escalatory steps' will follow if demands not met

Left: Today's demonstration in Basra.

Basra, Apr 16, (VOI) – The commission that organized Monday's mass demonstration in Basra to call for sacking Governor Mohammed Mosbeh al-Waeli said they ended the demonstration and will embark on a three-day sit in as of Tuesday, threatening "escalatory steps" if the protesters' demands were not met.

"The committee submitted its demands for having the governor relieved to the Basra local council," read the statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

An eyewitness earlier said a mass demonstration was staged earlier on Monday in Basra province, as protesters surrounded the local council building and called for the relief of Governor Waeli.

"The demonstration started near the Grand Mosque in central Basra and headed towards the council building," the eyewitness told VOI.

Hundreds of protesters, amidst tight security measures, were chanting slogans against Waeli, he added, noting that the demonstration had not witnessed acts of violence "so far."

Iraq's official TV channel al-Iraqiya said on Sunday that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki contacted religious and political leaders in Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, and secured a pledge that no demonstration would be staged, and that problems between the governor and the local council would be solved by peaceful means.

From VOI

Related Link:
Thousands of Iraqis protest in Basra

Related Link:
Report: Maliki negotiates cancellation of Basra demonstration

Related Link:
Rival Shia factions battle in Basra

Related Link:
Perspective: Iraq's Shi'ite Alliance recovering from first split

Related Link:
Fadhila Party withdrawing from Shi'ite coalition in parliament