Today was special voting day. Prisoners with a term of five years or less, hospital employees and security forces went to the polls on Wednesday in advance of Saturday's provincial elections in Iraq.
It was also a small glimpse of what is to come. According to a local organization to protect journalist rights 64 journalists rights were violated across the nation. In Basra, Babil and Anbar journalists were beaten or prevented from entering polling sites by security forces. Their camera equipment was confiscated and in many cases they were cursed at with foul language.
In the southern port city of Basra at Al Mina center where prisoners were voting 15 journalists tried to cover the vote. They were beaten and guards cursed them as they forcibly confiscated or destroyed their equipment, the journalist association reported.
Faisal Binwan, a photographer for the Associated Press said he was beaten and cursed at when he tried to take pictures. Guards used their hands and the butt of their rifles to hit reporters and photographers. For an hour and a half they detained the men and finally allowed them to take pictures of one prisoner voting.
"We demanded to shoot other detainees then they got angry
and attacked us by cursing and beating us and they destroyed some cameras," he said.
The journalists were finally forced to leave.
In Baghdad 20 journalists were stopped from entering polling centers by the Iraqi Army, in Fallujah the Iraqi Army beat and cursed at journalists at at least one polling center if they didn't stay 100 meters away from the site. Those are a few of the incidents we know of.
We'll see what Saturday brings.