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Protests in Kerala over Saddam execution

india Updated: Dec 30, 2006 13:49 IST

Angry supporters of former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein took to the streets in some parts of Kerala on Saturday after his execution.

The demonstrators gathered at the Saddam Beach in Kozhikode district and shouted slogans denouncing US President George W Bush, describing the hanging as "cruel".

"This is the most cruel act and should never have happened. What is more disgusting is that it took place on a day when Muslims are in prayer," said a Muslim youth who took part in the demonstration.

Fishermen who had ventured into the sea were messaged to return.

Reports of demonstrations also came in from Kochi and other places.

Pinnarayi Vijayan, state secretary of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist, said a three-hour statewide shutdown would be held from 3 pm on Saturday to protest against the execution.

"Saddam was a great nationalist and one who never bowed to Western imperialists. America's only interest was in oil-rich Iraq and nothing else," Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front has called for a similar shutdown.

Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said: "They (Americans) showed scant respect to world opinion which was in favour of Saddam. This (execution) should not have happened."

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