Egyptians protest "homosexual American executioners"
May 13 2004 12:00 AM ET
Egyptian demonstrators in Cairo and Tehran on Wednesday condemned abuse of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers. In Cairo the protesters--most of the women were veiled and the men bearded, as is typical of Islamists--were surrounded by about 300 riot police. A white sheet draped in front of the gathering read, "Bring to justice the homosexual American executioners, their agents the traitors, their followers the enemies." They demanded that the U.S. ambassador be kicked out and that soldiers involved be brought to justice. "Tell the pigs' ambassador to leave the land of the Nile," about 50 Egyptian lawyers and journalists chanted, referring to U.S. ambassador David C. Welch.
Graphic images of naked prisoners piled on top of each other while smiling soldiers posed behind them and of inmates being forced to simulate sex acts and being terrorized by guard dogs turned long-standing abuse accusations into an international scandal. They also fed anti-American sentiment in the region. In Baghdad on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt announced that two more American soldiers have been ordered to stand trial on abuse charges, though no dates for the court-martials have been set. Another soldier's court-martial is May 19.
Mustafa Bakri, editor of the Al-Osboa weekly, one of three papers criticized by the U.S. Embassy for publishing fake photographs of American soldiers raping Iraqi women, warned those gathered that Egyptians too could one day be the target of U.S. humiliation and abuse. "Those gays forced our brothers in Iraq to practice homosexuality and filmed them. If we remain silent, we will be next," Bakri said.
In downtown Tehran, meanwhile, dozens of students in front of the British Embassy demonstrated against alleged abuse by American and British soldiers. The young men and women, wearing yellow headbands with "Jerusalem, we are coming" written on them, chanted for the closure of the "British espionage house"--a reference to the British Embassy. The U.S. Embassy has been closed for more than 20 years, due to there being relations between the U.S. and Iran.