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N.Y. police arrest dozens protesting Iraq sanctions
From Time to Time: Nando's in-depth look at the 20th century
NEW YORK (February 14, 2000 7:14 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com)
Police arrested 86 people in front of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Monday after they refused to move during a protest against U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
"Wake up the children are dying," the protesters chanted as they held up pictures of emaciated Iraqi children and placards reading "Lift the sanctions."
The demonstrators were charged with disorderly conduct, said police officer Valerie St. Rose.
The rally came on the same day U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan accepted the resignation of the world body's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Hans von Sponeck. Von Sponeck has been a severe critic of sanctions and the U.N. relief program for Iraqis.
Iraq has been barred from selling oil, its most precious commodity, on the open market since U.N. sanctions were imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under U.N. resolutions, the sanctions cannot be lifted until Iraq has rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.
The U.N. Security Council created the oil-for-food program in 1996 to enable Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and other essential goods for its people.
The program, however, has been unable to meet all of the Iraqis' needs, and U.N. reports consistently speak of high malnutrition rates among Iraqis, particularly the children.
Monday's rally marked the ninth anniversary of a Persian Gulf War bombing that Iraq said killed more than 300 civilians. Baghdad has maintained the building was a civilian shelter, but U.S. officials said they targeted the structure because it was a military command center.
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Link to PMA's index page on Iraq.