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Iraqi Embassy Employees in Brazil Burn Documents

Iraqi Embassy Employees in Brazil Burn Documents

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Iraqi Embassy employees in Brasilia started burning documents Wednesday after TV stations broadcast images of a Saddam Hussein statue being toppled in Baghdad, police said.

Police said they could see men outside the embassy burning boxes and large quantities of paper.

"There were some workers who took papers from the offices to the garden to burn them," said police Col. Abinor Deilvane, whose unit protects embassies in the Brazilian capital.

Media photographers who arrived a short time saw three piles of smoldering paper inside the embassy's walls next to the building.

An embassy official who said he was the secretary of Iraqi Ambassador Jarallah Alobaidy denied documents were being destroyed.

"It's all lies," said the official, Abdu Saif. "We are only burning garbage and recently cut grass."

A short time later, a man who answered the phone at the embassy said only, "I'm not working now" and hung up.


LONDON (AP) -- Opponents of Saddam Hussein celebrated the fall of Baghdad by storming an Iraqi diplomatic office Wednesday, shattering the glass front door and tearing up portraits of the Iraqi leader before police arrested 24 people.

About 60 people took over the Iraqi interest section at the Jordanian Embassy and "evicted a couple of staff," said Zuhair al-Maher, a member of the group Iraqi Opposition in Exile.

"We have occupied it to show the world that the Iraqi opposition is delighted and glad at the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime," al-Maher told The Associated Press by telephone.

Scotland Yard said demonstrators were quickly cleared from the building, and police arrested two dozen people for offenses including criminal damage.

Ali Baraka, 23, a London student, said the break-in was a spontaneous action to show support "for the Iraqi people who were liberated today." The demonstrators intended to "give a peaceful expression of their happiness of the fall-down of the regime today," said Baraka, who avoided arrest.

Some portraits of Saddam were taken down and ripped, Baraka added.

Another protester, Yassin El-Assari, waved a picture of his brother who he claimed was executed by the Iraqi regime.

"Saddam Hussein has tortured us for 35 years so we don't know how to express our happiness. We just want to get rid of his pictures, do anything that will break them up," he said.

Iraq severed diplomatic relations with Britain in February 1991. The country was represented through the Jordanian Embassy until Britain expelled two Iraqi diplomats this year.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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