Iraqis vote actively despite attacks

10:54, March 08, 2010      

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An Iraqi woman gets her finger inked at a polling station in Baghdad, capital of Iraq, on March 7, 2010. Iraqis went to polls on Sunday for the parliamentary election. This is the second national poll since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime from U.S.-led invasion in 2003.(Xinhua/Zhang Ning)

by Song Dan and Xu Yanyan

Iraq's national parliamentary election started on the early morning of March 7 as sounds of strings of bombings waked Baghdad.

Dozens of mortar rounds and rockets hit Baghdad's neighborhoods, especially the Green Zone, since early in the day when polling centers were open for voters to cast ballots for the elections.

The security has been tightened up and a ban on vehicles was imposed on the polling day, Xinhua correspondents had to walk half an hour from their residential Al-Mansour Hotel to the heavily- protected Green Zone, where the top officials and political elites will cast their votes in the so-called No.1 polling station in Rasheed Hotel and receive media interviews.

Hundreds of armed Iraqi security forces members in various uniforms which indicate they belong to different troops, were deployed in streets along the way to the Green Zone. Earlier, after some insurgent groups aired warnings against the election and threatened to wreck the event, spokesman of the Baghdad Operation Command Qassim Atta said the Iraqi security forces have beefed up security for polling stations in Baghdad.

The quiet morning was soon broken as a spate of mortar barrages and rockets struck different areas of the city, while we were still on our way. The half-hour walking to the Green Zone was not easy, as we were stopped every 30 meters by security checkpoints for ID.

At least three sounds of blast were heard within our 500 meters walk.

The security members were extremely nervous as this is the most crucial day which was already overshadowed by threats and pre- election attacks, when we pointed our camera at them and wanted to take pictures, one of the officers swore to shoot us if we shoot him.

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