View Full Version : Protest turns violent in Baghdad

02 Oct 03,, 01:08
Protest turns violent in Baghdad

U.S. soldier killed in Tikrit

Wednesday, October 1, 2003 Posted: 8:06 PM EDT (0006 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A crowd of angry, unemployed Iraqis threw rocks and set at least two police vehicles on fire Wednesday when they were turned away from a Baghdad police station where they had hoped to apply for jobs.

Some of the estimated 300 job seekers told CNN's Harris Whitbeck that they arrived at the police precinct to fill out application forms but were asked for bribes and ordered away from the station.

"We want to get in there, but the only way you get into this force is if you pay extra bribe, extra money," said a former officer in the Iraqi army, who said he has been without a job since March. "Normal people who do not have money could not get admitted into this fighting force ... the security force.

"I've been coming here for four months," he said. "We've had so many promises, and nothing [violent] happened until now."

Several Iraqi police officers could be seen firing their weapons, apparently warning the crowd to disperse.

No casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier was killed and three were wounded in an explosion near the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division's main Tikrit base, an Army spokeswoman said.

Authorities said the explosion was caused by either a mine or an improvised explosive device at the side of the road. The soldiers were traveling in a supply convoy.

CNN was told by one source that the soldier who died, the driver, was female.

Two of the wounded soldiers are in life-threatening condition and are receiving medical treatment. The third had a minor injury and returned to duty.

A quick-reaction force is searching for the attackers, the spokeswoman said.

The attack brings the number of U.S. forces killed in the Iraq war to 310 -- 198 deaths in hostile action and 112 in nonhostile activity, which includes accidents. (Special: U.S. and coalition casualties)

There is no reliable source for Iraqi civilian or combatant casualty figures, either during the period of major combat or after May 1. The Associated Press reported an estimated 3,240 civilian Iraqi deaths between March 20 and April 20, but the AP said that the figure was based on records of only half of Iraq's hospitals and the actual number was thought to be significantly higher.