Iraqi supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr, the rebel Shia cleric, demonstrated in their tens of thousands in Baghdad on Friday of last week.
They were protesting at the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated between the US and Iraq’s government.
This sets a timetable for the withdrawal of combat troops from the country by 2012. But it also grants the US some 50 permanent military bases, control over Iraqi airspace and the right to seize any Iraqis who work against US interests. The deal will also allow the US to intervene if the Iraqi government is threatened by popular rebellion.
Protesters toppled an effigy of George Bush on a plinth that once displayed a statue of Saddam Hussein. Sadr has vowed to relaunch the armed resistance if Iraq’s parliament approves the accord.