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  Saddam's statue is toppled in historic moment
Updated 09 April 2003, 16.11
Saddam's statue
An amazing event that will probably be shown in history lessons in classrooms throughout the world in years to come happened live on TV on Wednesday.

A giant concrete and metal statue of Saddam Hussein with his arm outstretched, pointing across Baghdad was pulled down in a dramatic scene.

And in the same way that the destruction of the Berlin Wall became a part of history in 1989, these pictures will become historical.

They will signal the end of Saddam's 24-year rule.

And it is one which the children of Baghdad will probably always remember.

Children shouting

It all started with a few people deciding to climb up the statue.

It towers over al-Fardus (Paradise) square in central Baghdad.

Crowds of people - many of them shouting children - started to gather to throw rocks and shoes at the monument.

In Iraq, using shoes like this is seen as a massive insult.

Going, going...
Going, going...

A rope was found and tied around the statue's neck, but it was too short and they had no way to pull it.

So one man started attacking the concrete base with a sledgehammer while others ripped off the brass plaque from it.

Marine help

But help arrived in the form of rumbling US marine tanks and an armoured personnel truck.

Crowds cheered and tried to jump onto the truck too as a cable was attached around the statue's neck.

Marines tried to move the excited crowd back out of danger from the falling concrete.

As US marines climbed up to attach the cable, one of them decided to place a US flag over Saddam's face,


The crowd didn't like this and jeered. It was soon replaced by the Iraq flag.

And after the crowd were pushed to safe distances, the tractor moved back with the cable around Saddam.

It groaned - it looked like it wouldn't budge.

But at 3.50pm (British time), to the cheers of the crowd, the statue snapped and toppled.

The crowds jumped up and down on the statue's fallen body and after 24 years, felt free enough to wave their Iraqi flags in joy and relief.

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