Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Anti-Constitution Rally

Baghdad, Iraq—This afternoon, about six hundred Iraqis gathered outside of a Baghdad
Mosque to protest the signing of the Constitution. More particularly, they
gathered outside the Mosque closest to my hotel. I first spoke to the Army regular manning the checkpoint at my hotel. He was told that the rally was against the Iraqi governing council, which the protesters believed they should have had a more direct hand in selecting. I asked whether the protest had been peaceful. He said that it had been peaceful for the most part, although when some security trucks were brought in, some members of the crowd threw rocks.

Armed with this information, I did what reporters in the region do. No, I did not go to the hotel bar. Rather, following the advice of the "opposite George" episode of Seinfeld, I did the opposite of what your
instincts say, and walked toward the rally. When I reached the edge of the
demonstration, I was greeted by reasonably heavy security, most of which was provided by the Iraqi police. After a pat down, I talked briefly to one Iraqi police officers. He spoke reasonably good English. After chatting for a moment, I thanked him for his service, and complimented his bravery. (The Iraqi police are the primary targets of terrorist attacks these days in Iraq.)

The rally continued in a reasonably orderly fashion for some time. I
recognized a taxi driver across the street, and hailed him for a ride. I chatted with him about the rally. He explained that every Friday they rally at a different Mosque. He dismissed the rally as essentially the work of supporters of Saddam. After a drive that involved a short detour on the sidewalk to get around the barrier, I arrived at the Green Zone. Just
another day in Baghdad. (More pictures appear on the Photos from Iraq page.)

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