Thousands of demonstrators have on Friday taken to the streets in Iraq’s capital, Baghdad to demand the withdrawal of US troops from the country, after a prominent cleric called for a “million strong” protest against the American military presence, following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi militia chief.
Earlier, Iraqi parliament voted for all foreign troops – including some 5,200 US forces – to leave the country and called on the government to cancel its request for assistance from the US-led coalition that had been working with Baghdad to fight the ISIL (ISIS) group.
The latest rally called by Moqtada al-Sadr aims to pressure Washington to pull out its troops, but many anti-government protesters fear it could overshadow their separate, months-long demonstrations that have challenged Iran-backed Shi’ite groups’ grip on power.
With heavy security presence, the protesters including men and women marched waving Iraqi flags and wearing symbolic white shrouds chanting slogans against the United States, which leads a military coalition against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
According to Reuters, On Friday marchers avoided Tahrir square, symbol of mass protests against Iraq’ ruling elites as throngs of marchers started gathering early at al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad and near around the city’s main university.
Iraq’s top Shia Muslim leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, later called in his weekly sermon for political groups to form a new government as soon as possible to bring stability to the country and enact reforms to improve Iraqis’ lives.
1 Trillion Euros: EU Leaders Get Into Big Fight Over Budget
Budget arguments in any parliament are usually laced with strong points of view, and they include compromise and reversals. It is not any different in the European Union where leaders argued vehemently through Thursday night on how one trillion euros would be spent in the next seven years. This budget discussion is the first to take place since Britain pulled out of the bloc last month.
So far, the discussions have been harsh, long and have led nowhere. There were clear divisions between rich and poor members, while leaders from the bloc’s 27 countries met in Brussels on Thursday to argue over EU’s future and how they would pay for its ambitious programs.
Each leader promoted his country’s interests during a round-table meeting where each nation laid out its grievances and demands.
This budget didn’t just surface. It is the result of years of efforts by diplomats and numbers experts. But they seem not to have satisfied different interests.
Some experts fear the leaders’ summit might last into Saturday and still end inconclusively.
Man Arrested After London Mosque Stabbing
A suspect has been arrest in a London mosque Thursday stabbing incident. Police say the incident is not being treated as terrorism, but Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into the attempted murder of an elderly man that was stabbed several times during afternoon prayers at London’s regent’s park mosque. Fellow worshipers were said to have wrestled the alleged attacker to the ground. The man had stabbed in the neck the mosque’s cleric who calls others to prayer.
The suspect has been described as a twenty-nine-year-old man who was described by an eyewitness as a regular at the mosque.
The stabbing victim, Raafat Maglad, is said to be about seventy years old and has been at the mosque for 25 years. Paramedics treated him at the scene and then rushed him to the hospital for further treatment.
Maglad was said to be seriously injured, but the mosque said his condition was not life-threatening.
Coronavirus: Ukraine Protesters Attack Buses Carrying China Evacuees
Dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town on Thursday hurled stones and attacked buses carrying more than 70 evacuees from coronavirus-hit China.
Protesters clashed with police over the evacuees who were brought to a hospital in Novi Sanzhary, in the central Poltava region, where they will be held in quarantine for 14 days. The masked evacuees were peeking through bus windows as they drove slowly under a heavy police escort.
The residents put up road blocks and burned tyres to cut off road to a sanitarium intended to host the evacuees, fearing they could become infected.
Regional police said in a statement that nine police officers and one civilian were hospitalized.
The country’s health minister pledged to share evacuees’ quarantine for two weeks in a bid to reassure protesters who fear they could be infected.
The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky has called for local residents to show support for the evacuees and said his government would do “everything possible” to make sure the virus does not get to Ukraine.
Ukraine has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which originated last year in China’s Hubei province.
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