Pro-Saddam protests held in Iraqi cities as Bush says capture not to stop attacks on US forces
About 100 loyalists of captured Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein attacked two police stations in northern Baghdad with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) Monday afternoon, an Iraqi police officer said.
Police Lieutenant Haidar Zuheir said the Saddam supporters attacked the police stations in the Adhamiyeh district.No casualties were reported.
Witnesses said the clashes broke out during a pro-Saddam demonstration. Police opened fire to disperse the demonstrators who were firing in the air, a witness said.
Some 200 people held a pro-Saddam demonstration in Adhamiyeh late Sunday.
Pro-Saddam Hussein demonstrators sacked the regional government offices in the town of Fallujah west of Baghdad Monday, putting police guards to flight, journalists at the scene said.
The demonstrators stormed into the building, broke up the furniture, computers and air conditioning and then proceeded to destroy collections of documents.
They then set all the wreckage alight in a huge bonfire outside, reports said. Two large pictures of Saddam and Iraqi flags were hung from the top of the building.
Hundreds of locals took to the streets, chanting pro-Saddam slogans and letting off celebratory gunfire into the air.
Several hundred armed demonstrators pledged their allegiance to their deposed leader, chanting "we will sacrifice ourselves to you Saddam, with our blood, with our soul".
Meanwhile, President Bush said Monday that Saddam Hussein will be put on public trial for his "crimes," in a manner to be set in consultation with Iraqis brutalized across three decades of tyranny. "All the atrocities need to come out and justice needs to be delivered," Bush said at a year-end news conference.
At the same time, the US leader said the capture of the former Iraqi ruler likely did not signal an end to attacks on American forces in Iraq. "The work of our coalition remains difficult and will require further sacrifice," he said.
Bush said he had a simple message for Saddam: "Good riddance." "The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein," he added.
"We will work with Iraqis to develop a way to try him that will withstand international scrutiny," he said. Asked whether he favors Saddam's execution, Bush said his own personal views do not matter.
"There needs to be a public trial and all the atrocities need to come out and justice needs to be delivered," he said.
Bush opened his meeting with reporters by declaring that the weekend capture of the former Iraqi president was clear evidence that Iraq is "on the path to freedom." "America is more secure as the result of his capture," he added later.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)