- Iraq: fourth day of protests, police in Baghdad shoot at protesters
- Iraq: third day of protests, the revolt continues despite the curfew
- Iraq, demonstrations against the government in Baghdad: three dead and over 200 wounded
Share05 October 2019The Iraqis protesting against widespread corruption and against unemployment at very high levels now demand the resignation of the Government, supported also by Moqtada Sadr, the influential Shiite cleric who has a majority in Parliament. Meanwhile, the protests continue, for the fifth consecutive day, with a heavy death toll (almost a hundred in total) and over 4 thousand injured. Called on the Internet, the demonstrations call for better public services, such as water and electricity, more job opportunities and an end to corruption.
Today the Internet remains inaccessible as well as food products that have seen prices more than doubled since last week. On Friday night, Moqtada Sadr joined the protests and officially demanded the resignation of the premier, Adel Abdel Mahdi, accused of not being able to implement - in a year of operations - the reforms of which the country feels an urgent need. The former leader of the Shiite militia, who became a very influential and respected nationalist politician, called for new elections supervised by the UN. His blockade is the largest in Parliament and his speech lays the groundwork for a possible showdown with the president of the Parliament, Mohammad al-Halbusi, who had stepped forward to politically capitalize on popular discontent, pledging to "take off the jacket and be the first among the demonstrators ", if he did not see the government improving living conditions.
The Sadr movement has the power and organization to bring large numbers of supporters into the streets, but at the risk of alienating many of those who took to the streets in recent days to express their rejection of all political factions in Iraq. The protesters, especially the young, insisted that their movement is not connected to any party or religious institution and they mocked the recent openings of politicians.
"These men do not represent us. We do not want more parties. We do not want anyone to speak in our name", said many. The President of Parliament tried - unsuccessfully - to convene an urgent session to discuss the creation of jobs and social assistance projects, after he too reached out to the protesters. "Your voice is heard," he reassured.