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September 03, 2004

ANTI-SADR PROTESTS IN NAJAF:

In Najaf, scores of demonstrators took to the streets in the battle-scarred heart of the city near the Imam Ali shrine to protest the presence of al-Sadr and his militia and to back Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, who brokered last week's peace deal. The agreement called for the Mahdi Army to give up its arms, but many militia members in Najaf are thought to have kept them, hiding them at home or elsewhere.

"The demands of the demonstrators in general and for the people of Najaf especially are to ensure safety and security and to have stability back," said one protester, 38-year-old Abu Mohammed al-Najafi, identifying himself with a nickname.

Demonstrators shouted chants denouncing al-Sadr, including one that equated him with deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.

I'm surprised this isn't getting more attention.

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