Iraqis headed to the polls on Wednesday, braving threats of attacks and suicide bombings to elect a new parliament in the first general vote since the American troop withdrawal.
Security forces took up positions all over the country in an attempt to protect the 22 million eligible voters. The Associated Press reports from the capital, Baghdad:
Baghdad looked like a deserted city, with police and soldiers manning checkpoints roughly 500 meters (yards) apart and pickup trucks mounted with machine-guns roaming streets that were otherwise devoid of the usual traffic jams. Stores were closed, and many voters had to walk for kilometers (miles) to the polls after authorities banned civilian vehicles to prevent car bombs. Others demanded a lift from army or police checkpoints.