Rival Shi'ite groups protest in southern Iraq

For the second time this week, a demonstration was held in southern Iraq on Saturday underlying the fierce rivalry between two Shi'ite groups vying for influence as Britain prepares to reduce its forces in the region. Hundreds of supporters of the Shi'ite Fadhila party gathered in the southern city of Nasiriyah to protest a demonstration that 3,000 Iraqis believed to be followers of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had held earlier this week in Basra to demand the resignation of its provincial governor because of poor city services and alleged corruption in that southern city, Iraq's second largest. Fighters allied with al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the Fadhila party often clash with one another in mostly Shi'ite southern Iraq, and last month a dozen people were wounded in such fighting.