Thousands protest in the streets of Baghdad to mark the first anniversary of the U.S. occupation of their country. We go to Iraq to get a report from the ground. [includes transcript]
- Mark Levine, a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine speaking from Baghdad where mass protests had just taken place.
AMY GOODMAN: First, we’re going to go to Baghdad to speak with Mark Levine, a professor at the University of California-Irvine. He was there while the bombing took place this week that took out, killed at least seven people. Can you tell us where you are now?
MARK LEVINE: Yes. Hi, Amy. I’m standing about half a kilometer away from the square where the main protest today gathered.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what that protest is about?
MARK LEVINE: Well, the protest, which started with about 5,000 people and wound down to about 1,000 the 2,000. It was sponsored by the founding Iraqi National Conference, which has basically been set up in the last few weeks as an alternative to the governing council, what they call the governed council. And basically the goal is to fight against the occupation and create an alternative political and social structure to the transitional regime that is supposedly taking power on the first of July.
AMY GOODMAN: What were the people chanting?
MARK LEVINE: Well, I mean, one of the problems with the march, it was actually smaller than what was expected. A lot of that is because of the security issues. The march — along the march, many of the slogans were fairly anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli, reminding people of the early battles between Mohammad and the Jews. When they got there, however, the speeches were actually much more progressive. People — actually some of the speakers were begging people not to harm foreigners and telling them that the foreigners are here to work with us and help us. They were talking about democracy, unity, building a democracy against what they call the governed council and also just finding a peaceful way to resist the occupation in the long-term. The other issue that was most interesting to people who were there, was that it was also mostly men and it is really still very hard for women to claim an active part in the public space, in part because of the horrible security situation.
AMY GOODMAN: Mark Levine, professor at the University of California-Irvine, speaking to us from Baghdad just a block from a major protest taking place.