Terence Bunch

Photojournalist & Writer

Curious bystanders stand on the opposite side of the road directly outside Downing Street. Downing Street, London. 12th December 2009. All pictures © Terence Bunch.

Ashraf Residents Transfer Camp Liberty Iraq Protest. London. 12th December 2009.

By Published Last Edited 2009-12-12 00:00:00

Around 5 months after Iraqi security forces attack Ashraf City in Iraq killing 11 people, Iraqi authorities announce on Thursday 10th December their intention to force the pro-democracy Iranian residents of the city out of Iraq.

They claim in state media that they will force the residents out of the city and into an internment facility 220 miles south of Baghdad prior to forcing their return to Iran and imprisonment or execution. Ashraf City aka Camp Ashraf is currently home to around 3,500 people.

The denouement has been in play since 2003 and is now expected to climax on Tuesday 15th December with the forced, and violent, removal of the residents. The protests in London are expected to continue with other campaigns being launched around the world to take place in tandem.

The development is considered to represent a sharp escalation between the Iraqi Government, the Ashraf residents and the US Government.

In recent days, the Iraqi Government have deployed a routine tactic used by factions involved in the despoiled so-called War on Terror to denounce their enemies, association with Al Qaida, a tactic dismissed as ridiculous by the representatives of the residents of Ashraf City.

Downing Street, London. 12th December 2009.

A London bus drives past an Iranian flag waived by the supporters of the residents of Ashraf City in Iraq. The protest has been called outside Downing Street, the home of the British Government, itself now mired in controversy surrounding the decision to join the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Just a short distance away, the Iraq enquiry continues its attempts to understand why former British PM, Anthony Blair, took the decision that led to British forces joining the invasion.

A London bus drives past an Iranian flag waived by the supporters of the residents of Ashraf City in Iraq. The protest has been called outside Downing Street, the home of the British Government, itself now mired in controversy surrounding the decision to join the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Just a short distance away, the Iraq enquiry continues its attempts to understand why former British PM, Anthony Blair, took the decision that led to British forces joining the invasion.

As the supporters of the residents of Ashraf City gather outside Downing Street, a woman reads out a prepared statement.

As the supporters of the residents of Ashraf City gather outside Downing Street, a woman reads out a prepared statement.

The assembled begin to walk around in a large circle chanting demands for justice for the residents of Ashraf City and appeals to prevent the Iraqi Government from forcing them into internment camps south of Baghdad.

The assembled begin to walk around in a large circle chanting demands for justice for the residents of Ashraf City and appeals to prevent the Iraqi Government from forcing them into internment camps south of Baghdad.

A poster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) and supreme leader of Iran, Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, during a meeting. In recent years, and as a result of the foreign occupation of Iraq by western forces, the two nations have become more interlocked diplomatically. The interlocution that has developed has seen severe violence being waged against the pro democracy Iranian group at Ashraf City.

A poster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) and supreme leader of Iran, Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, during a meeting. In recent years, and as a result of the foreign occupation of Iraq by western forces, the two nations have become more interlocked diplomatically. The interlocution that has developed has seen severe violence being waged against the pro democracy Iranian group at Ashraf City.

The current incumbent President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is depicted in a crossed out image.

The current incumbent President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is depicted in a crossed out image.

A poster illustrating the groups demands.

A poster illustrating the groups demands.

The campaigners march in a circle outside Downing Street.

The campaigners march in a circle outside Downing Street.

Former Hunger Striker, Fatemeh Khezrie, talks to interested bystanders.

Former Hunger Striker, Fatemeh Khezrie, talks to interested bystanders.