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'Obama is talking about Iraq as a symbol of freedom,' says one young man angry over the detainment of several demonstrators, whose whereabouts are still unknown. 'We don't have such freedom. Where is it?'
Reporting from Baghdad— Encouraging the democracy protests sweeping the Arab world, President Obama has presented Iraq as a model for the region — praise that contrasts with the detention of four young activists for days without access to lawyers or their families.
"These people, they know we have only our voices," said Edwar, who meets regularly with members of parliament. "I am expecting the number of detentions will increase."
Fellow protesters in the movement demanding better governance, including an end to corruption and improved services, say they worry they are next to be picked up by plainclothes security agents or paramilitary police seeking to crush their demonstrations. The army raided a meeting Saturday about the four and detained at least nine more people, said respected activist Hanna Edwar.
Obama, in his speech last month, acknowledged that Iraq would face setbacks, but said it would play an important role in the region if its progress continued.
"Obama is talking about Iraq as a symbol of freedom," said the one who goes by Guevara. "We don't have such freedom. Where is it?"