Update: It was a BUST!
The Al Sadr Protest turnout today was even worse than originally reported!
Flownover added this from the Weekly Standard Blog:
The demonstration in Najaf has been muted. While Middle East Online claimed “hundreds of thousands of Shiites burned and trampled on US flags,” the reality is the protest was far smaller than Sadr would have liked. Reuters puts the protest size in the thousands, and during a press round table briefing today, Rear Admiral Mark Fox noted that the Coalition is closely monitoring the protest, and put the number of demonstrators between 5,000 and 7,000. The protest is monitored both on the ground and via air, which allows for a relatively accurate count of the number of protesters. Sadr’s weak showing during the April 9 protests highlights the setbacks he has suffered both politically and militarily since the inception of the Baghdad Security plan and his flight to Iran.
More here (with aerial shot)
This is a far cry from the ridiculous media reports that over 3 million were on their way to Najaf to support the camera shy Al Sadr.
It looks like Al-Sadr did not get the numbers he had hoped for at his mass rally against the US today.
It’s not the first time…
But, don’t expect to read this in the mainstream news anywhere.
Demonstrators carry an Iraqi flag during an anti-U.S. protest called by fiery cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf, marking the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad April 9, 2007. Baghdad was under curfew on Monday on the fourth anniversary of the fall of the capital to U.S. forces. (REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz)
It looks like the original estimates of over 3 million protesters fell well short of the mark.
The protest today was far below those expectations even with Al-Sadr’s lackeys bringing busloads from Sadr City.
The New York Times reports:
The demonstrators, appearing to number in the tens of thousands, marched to Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, from neighboring Kufa, with two cordons of Iraqi police lining the route.
3 million – tens of thousands = A couple of missing millions
The worst part of it, though, was that Al-Sadr himself was a no-show!
As Iraq the Model explained after a previous flop:
…Instead of the million figure that Sadr was aspiring to see in Baghdad and out of supposedly 2 million Shia residents of Sadr city only 100,000 showed up and that’s only after Sadr summoned demonstrators from the southern provinces and sent busses to fetch them.
Just a note… Compare this protest today that received loads of coverage to the thousands who protested in Baghdad on Saturday who were ignored by the media.
Friday’s Protest Turnout Disappoints Hellish Radical Al Sadr