Iraqis rally to condemn Saudi meddling

Iraqis_rally_bahrainThousands of Iraqis protest in Basra against Saudi Arabia’s move to deploy troops in Bahrain to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations by the Shia majority opposition.

Around 7,000 people, including government officials and clerics, protested in Iraq’s second-largest city on Saturday, Shiite News reported. They waved Bahraini flags and shouted slogans like, “The clock of change is ticking. After Bahrain, the Saudi king is next,” and  “Woe to those hostile to Shias.”

More than 20,000 people demonstrated in Baghdad and Najaf on Friday, and several thousand on Wednesday. The demonstrations were organized by Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

People in Lebanon, Iran and various cities of Saudi Arabia have also held rallies against Saudi troops’ presence in Bahrain.

“The Saudi government practices a double standard. On the one hand it is with the Libyan people, and on the other hand it is a strong arm against Bahrain’s people and suppressing them,” said Muhanad Sahib, a protester demonstrating in Basra.

In addition, a smaller demonstration was held in Baghdad on Saturday, reportedly organized by the Shia Dawa Party.

Saudi Arabia has deployed more than 1,000 troops to Bahrain at the request of Manama to help the Al Khalifa monarchy crush the anti-government protests. In a similar move, the UAE has dispatched around 500 police forces to assist the Sunni-led regime.

More than 12 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 injured in Bahrain since February 14.

Saudi forces have reportedly arrested opposition leaders and taken them to Saudi Arabia. Matar Matar of the main opposition Shia bloc Al-Wefaq has stated that approximately 60 Bahraini protesters have gone missing since Wednesday.

Protesters are demanding the ouster of the Al Khalifa monarchy and constitutional reforms

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