Minister warns against protests
Iraq’s interior minister has told Iraqis not to demonstrate against the regime. Falah al-Naqib told journalists on Monday that protests were among “attempts to destabilise the situation” in Iraq.
Naqib’s comments came after government bodyguards opened fire on an unarmed and peaceful demonstration of workers, killing at least one.
The workers, employed by Iraq’s technology ministry, gathered last Sunday in Baghdad to demand higher wages. Naqib defended the bodyguards who shot at them, saying they were just doing their job.
The minister’s comments came a few days after a leading Shia cleric in Iraq called for a “million strong demonstration to demand a timetable for the end of the occupation”.
Sheik Nasser al-Saedi, a follower of radical Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr, called on “all political forces to take part in this demonstration” during his sermon last Friday at the Grand Mosque in Kufa.
US bars access to Sgrena car
The US military in Iraq is refusing to let Italian police examine the car shot at by US troops during the release of Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena.
Giuliana Sgrena, a journalist for the left wing Il Manifesto newspaper, was freed on 4 March. But US troops opened fire on her car, killing Italian agent Nicola Calipari.
The car, a Toyota Corolla, is being held by the US military at Baghdad’s airport, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Italian police want to examine the car to find out how Calipari died, but US authorities ordered them to abort their trip.
The US army’s killing of Calipari during Sgrena’s release has outraged Italians and increased the unpopularity of the war in the country.
Navy charges anti-war sailor
A US Navy sailor who opposes the Iraq war has been charged for refusing to board a ship bound for the Persian Gulf.
Pablo Paredes, a weapons control technician, will face a special court martial for absence without leave, the navy announced on Friday last week.
Pablo is now applying for conscientious objector status. His case has attracted the support of Ron Kovic, the disabled Vietnam veteran and anti-war campaigner.
Former US Marine Jeremy Hinzman has lost his bid for refugee status in Canada. Hinzman deserted and fled to Canada because of his opposition to the war on Iraq.