Demonstrators in Nassiriya, the center of Dhi Qar governorate (360 kilometers south of Baghdad), are preparing to commemorate the "olive bridge massacre", which took place on November 28 last year, which led to the killing and wounding of dozens of demonstrators, in one of the bloodiest incidents during the protests Which Iraq witnessed within a year from now.

The Zeitoun incident became a milestone in the form of protest in Nasiriyah, and the subsequent developments in the demonstrations and hot confrontations that took place between protesters and security forces and others with armed men, and the accompanying fires that swept military headquarters, and a wave of anger that lasted for days, with the closure of the city bridges, and a state of panic She controlled the people at the time.

The Al-Zaytoon incident occurred at 3:00 in the morning of that day, and a special military force led by Lieutenant General Jamil Al-Shammari advanced to open the Zaytoun Bridge, which was closed by protesters, and then they started shooting at them while they were sleeping in the sit-in tents, and dozens fell dead and wounded, and the sides of the bridge were filled With blood, clothes and some brushes.

Zaitoun Bridge in Nasiriyah a year ago, when the demonstrators cut it off (Al-Jazeera Net)

A day after the incident, thousands of demonstrators gathered, and they burned the military headquarters of the emergency regiments and a number of police cars, amid great turmoil and anger, as the crowds decided to burn down the main headquarters of the provincial police command, but the city notables were able to persuade the protesters to reverse that.

As a result, the Zaytoun Bridge was completely closed by the demonstrators, who demanded that the killers of the demonstrators be held accountable and brought to justice, and despite the government's condemnation of the incident, no investigation results have emerged, and the file remains open until now.

Remembrance of the victims of the Zaitoun Bridge when it was reopened two months ago (Al-Jazeera Net)

Holding the killers accountable and

what the protesters will do On the first anniversary of the massacre, which will take place within days, protest activist Ziad Al-Asad stated that he and his colleagues will maintain peace, raising slogans to remind Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi of his role in holding the perpetrators accountable and bringing them to justice, pointing out that this is a practical test for him.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Asad added that if the demands for accountability of the killers continue to be ignored, the people of Nasiriyah are intent on renewing the "October uprising."

And he warned that the "protest volcano" could erupt again and fill the streets and squares, but this time with a higher ceiling, more demands, greater momentum and intense pressure.

A sign hanging on the Zaytoun Bridge in memory of the dead (Al-Jazeera Net)

Since the outbreak of protests in Nasiriyah last year, the Zaytoun Bridge has been a major artery, as it is cut off with every wave of protest, a strategy adopted by the demonstrators to paralyze traffic and control the street during the protest and impose presence.

This closure posed a challenge to the government authorities, which in turn sent a military force to open the closed bridges by force, but that force quickly angered the demonstrators, and led to the Zenon Bridge incident.

Activist Muhammad Akram urged the responsible authorities to expedite the accountability of the killers, and to reveal the facts in a transparent and fair manner, while confirming that the language of dialogue can avoid the country from many bloody events.

The "massacre" - as Akram explains to Al-Jazeera Net - later caused chaotic events in Nasiriyah, and clearly weakened the prestige of the state and its institutions as well as the security services, which was consequently reflected on the general situation in Dhi Qar.

Al-Zaytoon Bridge before reopening last September (Al-Jazeera Net)

Commemoration of the tragedy

. Protest activist Ammar Khudair emphasized that the Zaytoun Bridge is symbolic of the demonstrators because of the amount of blood that has been shed on it. Therefore, preparations are underway to prepare for the commemoration of the first anniversary of the "massacre."

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Khudair considered that the aim of this revival is to remind the amount of blood that bled, and to comfort the families of the dead whose sons fell in the accident.

For a year, the Zaitoun Bridge was the scene of many marches and protests, and the families of the victims of the Zaytoun Bridge, who demanded accountability for the killers, also attended.

The Zeitoun Bridge incident is one of the main reasons for the resignation of former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, followed by the resignation of Dhi Qar Governor, Adel Al-Dakhili, while senior security positions in the governorate were changed.

Demonstrations and torching tires in Nasiriyah two months ago (Al-Jazeera)


and no government decision was issued to hold those accused of the crime accountable, except for the judicial comment that was issued by the Supreme Judicial Council two days after the accident, where he revealed - in a statement - an urgent investigation into the killings that took place against the demonstrators in Nasiriyah, but that was only a media statement To calm down.

The Director of Information of the Dhi Qar Police Command, Brigadier General Fuad Karim, said in a call with Al-Jazeera Net that the investigation is still ongoing in the case of the Al-Zaitoun Bridge accident, and that the file is in the possession of the judiciary, and that the task of the police was limited to providing the judiciary with details about the day of the accident and what happened in it, and bringing witnesses He indicated that no one was arrested in the case.

The families of the victims - for their part - and to assert their right to hold the perpetrators accountable, held numerous gatherings and demonstrations.

In front of the Nassiriya Court and the District Court, demanding that the killers of their sons be held accountable, and they continued this situation for months, while the demonstrators of Al-Haboubi Square (in the center of Nasiriyah) more than once denounced the perpetrators of the Zeitoun massacre, and demanded the arrest of the perpetrators, and organized several vigils. To issue a travel ban against Lieutenant General Jamil Al-Shammari, commander of the military force responsible for what happened.

The reopening of the Zeitoun Bridge in Nasiriyah is a blessed step that deserves praise and thanks to our good people and conscious youth, and it proves that dialogue, not collision, is the way to understand the aspirations of our people.

We pledge the families of the martyrs to continue searching for the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

Designs for the Martyrs Monument and Tishreen Museum have been completed, and technical teams will start immediately

- Mustafa Al-Kadhimi (@MAKadhimi) September 18, 2020

The bridge was reopened and

after months of negotiations between the security forces and the local government on the one hand, and between demonstrators and the families of the victims, regarding the reopening of the Zaytoun Bridge;

All agreed, on the condition that the killers of the protesters be brought to justice and tried, as it was opened on September 17, 2020.

The opening of the bridge was an exceptional event, as Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi prompted him to post a tweet on Twitter, in which he said, "The reopening of the Zaytoun Bridge in Nasiriyah is a blessed step that deserves praise and thanks to our kind people and conscious youth."

"This step proves that dialogue, not clash, is the way to understand the aspirations of our people," he added, pledging to "continue searching for the perpetrators and bringing them to justice."