The first reported anti-Saddam demonstration in Iraq since the Persian Gulf war began occurred one week ago, with protesters killing 10 members of the country's ruling party, according to travelers from Iraq.
The travelers said the deaths took place on Feb. 10 as up to 5,000 people in the city of Diwaniyeh, 110 miles south of Baghdad, protested Saddam Hussein's refusal to relinquish Kuwait.The 10 officials of the ruling Baath Arab Socialist Party were all shot when they tried to confront the demonstrators, the travelers quoted Iraqi officials as saying. The unnamed government and Baath officials, whose accounts could not be confirmed, said members of the crowd mutilated at least two of the bodies.
Diwaniyeh is in a predominantly Shiite Muslim region. Shiites make up about 55 percent of Iraq's 17 million people; President Saddam's ruling elite is made up of minority Sunni Muslims.