Iraqi Shi'ites burn Bush effigy to protest US security pact

Thousands of followers of a radical Shi'ite cleric protested a proposed US-Iraqi security deal Friday, burning an effigy of US President George W. Bush in the same square where Iraqis beat a toppled Saddam Hussein statue five years ago. Chanting and waving flags, Muqtada al-Sadr's followers filled Firdous Square to protest the pact that would allow American troops to stay for three more years. The demonstration followed two days of protests in parliament by al-Sadr loyalists who disrupted readings of the proposed agreement. Parliament is scheduled to vote on the pact Monday, but presidential spokesman Naseer al-Ani told Iraq's Sharqiyah television late Friday that the vote might be delayed until after the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, which falls in early December.