John Alpert and Sharif Abdel Kouddous join us in our studio to discuss their recent visit to Baghdad.
Some 50 electrical workers staged a demonstration today outside the headquarters of US-British coalition forces in a former presidential palace in Baghdad.
They were protesting against the appointment of a former Baath party official as the director of the electricity department.
The electricity department workers handed over a letter to US forces. The Agence France Presse reports the letter says:
“We were shocked and horrified to see the same old guard come back.” It says, “We ask you to hear our appeals for help and to sack the clique of corrupt hypocrites.? It reads: “Do not let the excuse of restoring electric power prevent you from carrying out your sacred duty to make Iraq a free country.”
The demonstration comes just a day after some ten thousand Shiite Muslims rallied peacefully in front of a Sunni Mosque in Baghdad. They demanded the US hand over power to the Iraqi people, and withdraw its troops from the country.
The Shiite protest comes after the new US ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer, announced the US has indefinitely put off plans for Iraqi self rule.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Iraqis have begun tracking down and killing former members of the ruling Baath Party.
The assassinations appear to have picked up since the US issued a decree last Friday that prohibits senior Baath Party officials from holding positions in Iraq’s postwar government.
The Post reports former exile groups and Iraqis familiar with some of the killings say the number of Baath party members assassinated since the invasion could reach several hundred in Baghdad alone.
We?re joined right now in the studio by filmmaker and founder of the Downtown Community Television center, Jon Alpert as well as by Democracy Now! producer, Sharif Abdel Kouddous. They both have just returned from Baghdad.
They were in Baghdad to set up a live dialogue via satellite between Iraqi and American youths, and also worked on a documentary for HBO.
- John Alpert, filmmaker and founder of Downtown Community Television center
- Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! Producer