US bans media from protests
Up to 300 Iraqis gathered outside the Palestine Hotel to express rage at what they said was the US failure to restore order after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.
For the first time, visibly angered US military officials sought to distance the media from the protest, moving reporters and cameras about 30 metres from the barbed-wired entrance to the hotel.
"We want you to pull back to the back of the hotel because they (the Iraqis) are only performing because the media are here," said a marines colonel who would not give his first name or title.
The crowd later
moved to the nearby square where a statue of Saddam was toppled last
Wednesday, signaling the end of the regime. The Iraqis chanted:
"No, no, USA."
As the protest grew more vocal, a marines corporal held an impromptu briefing for a few reporters about progress in bringing Iraq back to normal.
Corporal John Hoellwarth said the US forces planned to boost joint police patrols, bring more hospitals back into service and restore power to parts of Baghdad within 72 hours
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