- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Protesters gathered across the country Friday to denounce parliamentary elections that demonstrators called rigged in favor of the main religious Shiite coalition.
In Baghdad, unknown assailants kidnapped a Sudanese diplomat and five other men as they left prayers at a mosque, a spokesman for Sudan's Foreign Ministry said. An Iraqi Foreign Ministry official said he had not heard of the abduction.
As many as 20,000 people demonstrated after noon prayers in southern Baghdad Friday in a protest organized by Sunni Arab groups and attended by representatives of secular Shia parties.
Many Iraqis outside the religious Shiite coalition allege that the elections were unfair to smaller Sunni Arab and secular Shiite groups.
"We refuse the cheating and forgery in the elections," read one banner among many decrying the elections.
Sheik Mahmoud al-Sumaidaei of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a major Sunni clerical group, told followers during Friday prayers at Baghdad's Umm al-Qura mosque that they were "living a conspiracy built on lies and forgery."
"You have to be ready during these hard times and combat forgeries and lies for the sake of Islam," he said.
How do you convince 20,000 angry Iraqis that they weren't cheated? Will the Sunni's ever be happy with anything less than a voice in the government equal to that of the Shiites?