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IraqSide:Developments
Follow-Up
Protests in Baghdad over US Raid
Journalists Call for Immediate Investigation
02/22/2007 00:48 AM ET
Iraqi journalists demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate in Baghdad Wednesday.
Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP.
Iraqi journalists demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate in Baghdad Wednesday.

Hundreds of Iraqi journalists and activists held a sit-in today in front of the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate to protest the recent US raid against the union, UPI is reporting.

As reported on Iraqslogger, US forces stormed the syndicate’s headquarters in Baghdad on Monday evening. Troops ransacked offices, arrested 10 of the syndicate’s security guards and confiscated 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators destined for the families of killed journalists, according to a statement released by the International Federation of Journalists.

Iraqis inspect the debris at the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate, in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Photo by Ali Yussef/AFP.
Iraqis inspect the debris at the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate, in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Ali `Uweid, deputy head of the press syndicate, said that the raid demonstrated “contempt for Iraqi Journalism and civil society organizations” and added that the syndicate would continue its protests until the guards were released and the property returned, reported Aswat al-Iraq, in Arabic.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi watchdog that advocates for press freedom in the country released a statement demanding that the government immediately investigate, saying that “the ways that journalists have been targeted with desecrations have escalated in the last few days, without any response, the most recent occurrence being the raid on the journalists' syndicate on the part of US forces.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest journalists’ organization said on Tuesday that the actions of the American forces were "outrageous and inexcusable" and is backing calls for a full investigation.

An Iraqi inspects damage inside the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists syndicate.
Photo by Ali Yussef/AFP.
An Iraqi inspects damage inside the headquarters of the Iraqi Journalists syndicate.
"This is a shocking violation of journalists' rights," said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary, in a statement on the IFJ website.

"In the past three years more than 120 Iraqi journalists, many of them syndicate members, have been killed and now their union has been turned over in an unprovoked act of intimidation," White added. "Anyone working for media that does not endorse US policy and actions could now be at risk."

The raid came just two days after the syndicate had received formal recognition from the Iraqi government, according to the IFJ. This new status allowed the syndicate access to its previously blocked bank account and it had just bought new computers and satellite equipment.

US officials have not commented on the events.

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