Iraq Protest: 'No To Occupation'

Iraqis protest in Basra, Iraq, Wednesday Sept. 21 2005, demanding an apology for Monday's attack by British forces on the jail where two British nationals were captive. AP

About 500 civilians and policemen rallied Wednesday in the southern city of Basra and denounced "British aggression" following London's decision to use force to free two of its soldiers being held by Iraqi police.

Attacks by insurgents continued in and around Baghdad, with a roadside bomb wounding two U.S. soldiers. The blast came a day after and the death toll for U.S. forces in Iraq rose to more than 1,900.

The demonstrators in Basra, which included police and civilians waving pistols and AK47s, shouted "No to occupation!" and carried banners condemning "British aggression" and demanding the freed soldiers be tried in an Iraqi court as "terrorists."

Some of the protesters met with the Basra police chief, Gen. Hassan Sawadi, to demand a British apology, said police spokesman Col. Karim al-Zaidi. Heavily armed soldiers and police watched the protest but didn't intervene.

Clashes between British forces and Iraqi police have killed five civilians, including two who died of their injuries Wednesday in a hospital, authorities said.

In other developments:

  • Saddam Hussein's lawyers have refused to acknowledge an October 19th trial date, saying they've received no official notification. Hussein's Iraqi lawyer issued a statement from Baghdad today saying lawyers "will not recognize any date for the trial if it comes within weeks or months."

  • In Wednesday's violence in and around Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded as a U.S. military convoy drove through the Abu Ghraib area on the western outskirts of the capital, wounding two soldiers, said Lt. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Army. Iraqi police 1st Lt. Mohammed Khayon said the U.S. forces then opened fire on people in the area, wounding an Iraqi civilian, but Davis couldn't confirm that.

  • Mechanical problems forced a U.S. Army Apache helicopter to make an emergency landing about 30 miles outside the northern city of Mosul. No one was injured.

  • The Army private who appeared in those infamous photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq goes on trial today in Texas. Lynndie England could get eleven years in a military prison if convicted. The 22-year-old West Virginia reservist is charged with seven counts of prisoner abuse and conspiracy.

  • Roadside bombs also exploded near two other U.S. convoys in southwestern Baghdad and in the Taji area north of the capital. No soldiers were wounded, Davis said.

  • On Monday, four U.S. soldiers attached to the Marines died in two roadside bombings near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad.

  • Three soldiers died Friday, but their deaths weren't announced until Tuesday. And a soldier from the 18th Military Police Brigade was killed in a roadside bombing 75 miles north of the capital Tuesday, the military said.

  • Iraqi forces fought with suspected insurgents based in several homes near the United Arab Emirates Embassy in the Mansour neighborhood, and two policemen, one soldier and five insurgents were killed, said army Brig. Abdeljalil Khalaf.

  • In addition, a Diplomatic Security agent attached to the U.S. State Department and three private American security guards were killed Monday when their convoy was hit by a suicide car bomber in Mosul, the U.S. Embassy said. The four were attached to the U.S. Embassy's regional office in Mosul.

    • Joel Roberts

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