Large Demonstrations in Iraq | World Defense

Large Demonstrations in Iraq

Khafee

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Gunfights break out and death toll rises as violent protests rage across southern Iraq
by SUADAD AL-SALHY
October 02, 2019

View attachment 10460
  • The protests started on Tuesday over unemployment, corruption, and poor public services
  • Police and the army opened fire and launched tear gas canisters to disperse hundreds of protesters all over Baghdad
BAGHDAD: At least five people died, including a police officer, and dozens were injured on Wednesday in a second day of protests in Iraq.
Thousands demonstrated in Baghdad and Shiite-dominated southern provinces against corruption, unemployment and the failure of public services such as water and electricity.

Protesters torched government and political party headquarters, and cut off main roads linking Baghdad with the north and south. Riot squads and rapid-intervention forces responded with water cannon, tear gas and live bullets.

#WATCH: Protests in Iraq escalated on Monday with at least more people killed and clashes spreading to other cities in the south. Here in Najaf, Iraqi security forces confront protesters. (Video: AFP)
More details here: Gunfights break out and death toll rises as violent protests rage across southern Iraq pic.twitter.com/s3Yqo8V7F8
— Arab News (@arabnews) October 2, 2019
“We want jobs and better public services. We’ve been demanding them for years and the government has never responded,” said protester Abdallah Walid, 27. Unemployed graduate Mohammad Jubury said: “No state would attack its own people like this. We’re being peaceful, but they fired.”

Among the victims of the violence was a child burned to death in his mother’s car as it passed over a tire set on fire by protesters to block the road in Al-Zaafaraniya in southeast Baghdad.

In Nassiriya, the capital of Dhi Qar province 400km south of Baghdad, protesters broke into the provincial council building and set fire to part of it. Three protesters were killed and dozens of people were injured, including security forces. Authorities imposed a curfew from 8pm.

In Babil and Missan governorates, demonstrators stormed the provincial council buildings and set fire to them. In Najaf, Samawah and Basra, they were halted by security cordons.

In Baghdad, thousands took to the streets from early morning, and cut off the main road to Baghdad airport. They tried several times to cross Al-Jumhuriya Bridge toward the government buildings and embassies in the heavily fortified Green Zone, but were repelled by tear gas and gunfire.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi held an emergency session of the National Security Council, and called for calm. After the meeting he contacted prominent tribal sheikhs to ask for their help in halting the protests, but they refused, a senior official in the National Security Agency told Arab News.

In an attempt to thwart the protests, internet access across much of Iraq was blocked and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp were disabled. Security sources said there was no evidence that the protests were spontaneous. “Whoever says the demonstrations are unorganized, and not backed by some sides, is naive,” a senior federal police officer in Baghdad told Arab News.

“They have paralyzed traffic in all areas of Baghdad by burning tires, and moving toward the airport seems deliberate. These do not seem random or spontaneous actions. We do not believe these demonstrations will end soon, and they may end with the overthrow of the government.”

The US embassy in Baghdad said it was closely monitoring the situation, and called on all parties to exercise restraint and not to use excessive force.
The powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr said he did not want to politicize the protests, but he nevertheless called on his followers to support the demonstrators.

This was seen by many observers as a message to Abdul Mahdi that he must understand the limits of his authority. “Abdul Mahdi came to the post with the support of Sadr and his political bloc, but recently he has moved away from all that Sadr wanted,” Saad Ahmad, an activist, told Arab News. “So I think Sadr will leave Abdul Mahdi to fall now.”
 

Scorpion

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The sectarian government of Iraq needs to be eradicated but Iraqis never learn. Glad that they start to stand up to Iran's influence inside Iraq. Iran was never a model to go by and never will.
 

TsAr

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The sectarian government of Iraq needs to be eradicated but Iraqis never learn. Glad that they start to stand up to Iran's influence inside Iraq. Iran was never a model to go by and never will.
Saudi and the US officials need to work on getting there yes man into the helm.....This is the only way they would be able to counter Iranian influence....
 

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Death toll rises as deadly Iraq protests resume despite curfew

BAGHDAD: Iraqi official said 10 protesters were killed overnight, raising death toll in three days of anti-government protests to 19.
Iraqi security forces fired live rounds on Thursday to break up protests held for a third day in Baghdad despite an open-ended curfew in effect since dawn.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi ordered the ban on movements across the capital starting at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) to stem the popular demonstrations over widespread unemployment and state corruption.
The chaotic protests and ensuing clashes with riot police in Baghdad and several southern cities have left 12 protesters and one police officer dead.
On Thursday morning, riot police fired in the air to disperse several dozen protesters gathered in the emblematic Tahrir Square in defiance of the curfew, an AFP photographer said.
“We slept here so the police don’t take the place,” one demonstrator told AFP before being pushed back en masse by police officers into adjacent sidestreets.
The Internet was down across most of Iraq on Thursday, the third day of protests called for on social media, with a monitor saying “intentional restrictions” by major providers caused the near-blackout.
Iraqis protesting in the capital and southern cities have struggled to communicate with each other or post footage of the chaotic demonstrations since Wednesday.
Restrictions were first limited to some social media sites but were expanded later Wednesday, leaving Iraq “largely offline,” according to cybersecurity monitor NetBlocks.
By Thursday morning, approximately three quarters of the country including the capital Baghdad was disconnected after major network operators Earthlink, Asiacell and Zain “intentionally restricted” access, a NetBlocks study found.
The north, including the autonomous Kurdish region, is connected to the web through a different system and was therefore unaffected by the blackout, it said.
Iraqi authorities cut off Internet access last year in response to mass protests in southern Iraq.
Those outages followed a similar pattern: social media was unavailable at first before a wider Internet blackout across the entire country.
No Iraqi authorities have commented on the blackout.
Before dawn twin explosions hit the Green Zone, where some ministries and embassies are located and which was struck by two rockets last week, a security source in the area told AFP.
The apparent attack came hours after security forces sealed off the Green Zone “until further notice” just a few months after it was reopened to the public, fearing angry protesters would swarm it.
Riot police in the capital have used water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds in an attempt to force protesters out of Tahrir and other areas in Baghdad.
Into the night on Wednesday, marches from different parts of the capital attempted to converge on the square, whose name means “liberation” in Arabic.
But with Internet access virtually shut, demonstrators have struggled to communicate with each other or post footage of the latest clashes.
In the holy city of Najaf and in Nasiriyah on Wednesday, security forces fired on protesters and curfews were also declared.
The protests appear to be largely spontaneous so far, with angry crowds carrying Iraqi flags and shunning any involvement by the country’s main political players.
Many traditional figures have expressed their support for the movement, with Sadr urging “peaceful demonstrations.”
He was behind the last round of major protests in Baghdad in 2016, when his supporters stormed the Green Zone, but his involvement appears much more limited this time.
On Wednesday night, the top United Nations official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, met with some protesters in Baghdad to call for “direct dialogue” between them and government officials.
“The ability to preserve the right to protest is a sign of political and democratic maturity. Moreover, the use of force only fuels the anger,” she said in a statement.
“De-escalation is urgently needed.”
The violence drew a slew of criticism from Iraqi leaders including President Barham Saleh, and parliament has demanded an investigation into the incidents.
The protests follow months of simmering frustration over rampant power cuts, water shortages and state corruption.
But anger over staggering rates of youth unemployment, which is around 25 percent or double the adult rate according to the World Bank, appears to have set off this particular round of demonstrations.
“We want jobs and better public services. We’ve been demanding them for years and the government has never responded,” said Abdallah Walid, a 27-year-old protester.
Demonstrations over similar issues engulfed the southern city of Basra last summer and effectively ended previous premier Haider Al-Abadi’s chances of a second term.
Abdel Mahdi now faces a similar challenge just weeks before his government marks a full year in power.
He called for the curfew after convening his national security council for an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
Abdel Mahdi has also blamed the violence on “aggressors who... deliberately created casualties,” a statement met with rage by protesters.
 

Khafee

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Explainer: Deadly civil unrest - what is happening in Iraq?
October 3, 2019
John Davison

1570128316600.png

Demonstrators burn tires during a curfew, two days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Wissm al-Okili

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 18 Iraqis have died in recent days in clashes between protesters and the security forces during street demonstrations that caught the authorities by surprise.

They were the first major deadly protests for more than a year.

WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTESTING?
Iraqis are fed up. Two years after the defeat of Islamic State much of the country’s nearly 40 million population live in worsening conditions despite the country’s oil wealth.

Security is better than it has been in years, but wrecked infrastructure has not been rebuilt and jobs are scarce. Youth blame this squarely on what they see as corrupt leaders who do not represent them.

WHY ARE CONDITIONS SO BAD?
After decades of war against its neighbors, U.N. sanctions, two U.S. invasions, foreign occupation and sectarian civil war, the defeat of the Islamic State insurgency in 2017 means Iraq is now at peace and free to trade for the first extended period since the 1970s. Oil output is at record levels.

But infrastructure is decrepit and deteriorating, war-damaged cities have yet to be rebuilt and armed groups still wield power on the streets.

A culture of corruption has persisted since the era of dictator Saddam Hussein and has become entrenched under the rule of sectarian political parties that emerged after his fall.

WHAT SPARKED THE LATEST PROTESTS? WHO ORGANIZED THEM?
The protests do not appear to be coordinated by a particular political group. Social media calls for protests gathered pace early this week. The turnout appeared to take security forces by surprise.

The inadequacy of state services and the lack of jobs are the principal reasons for public anger. A series of political moves by the government has contributed, especially the demotion of a popular wartime military officer for reasons that have not been fully explained. Some at the demonstrations were protesting over the commander’s removal.

ARE MASS PROTESTS RARE IN IRAQ?
Major protests took place mainly in the southern city of Basra in September last year. Nearly 30 people were killed.

Since then, sporadic demonstrations have taken place but not on the scale of this week’s events. These were the first large demonstrations against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, which took office in October last year.

WILL THEY SPREAD? WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
It depends how the government and security services handle the protests. More deaths - so far 18 people including a policeman have been killed - will fuel anger. But a heavy-handed crackdown could also scare protesters into staying home.

Many Iraqis believe powerful paramilitary groups backed by Iran were behind violent crackdowns in Basra last year. Turnout for protests since then has been small.

If tribal or factional armed groups get involved the situation could deteriorate. Gunfights broke out in southern cities this week between unidentified gunmen and police.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT MEET PROTESTERS’ DEMANDS?
The government has promised better employment opportunities for Iraqis.

This week Abdul Mahdi promised jobs for graduates and instructed the oil ministry and other government bodies to include a 50% quota for local workers in subsequent contracts with foreign companies.

Similar promises and pledges to improve healthcare, electricity and services were made last year by the previous government.

IS THE UNREST SECTARIAN?
No. Most Iraqis have sought to avoid sectarian rhetoric after the brutal experience of Sunni hardline Islamic State - although sectarian tension still exists. These protests are about worsening economic and living conditions and are taking place mostly in Baghdad and the Shi’ite Muslim-dominated south, but cut across ethnic and sectarian lines. Anger is directed at a political class, not a sect.

That contrasts with protests in 2012 and 2013 that Islamic State exploited to rally support among Sunnis.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE GOVERNMENT?
Because no political party or group is publicly involved in these demonstrations - not even the so-called opposition parliamentary grouping of firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who has orchestrated some unrest in the past - the government might struggle to control them.

If they spread, it is unclear what options the government has. There is no mention so far of reshuffles or resignations. Parties that agreed to bring Abdul Mahdi to power, and which control the weak premier, are likely to want to keep him there.

Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Peter Graff
 

Falcon29

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At least 31 dead in Iraq as anti-government protests grip country

At least 31 people in Iraq have been killed and hundreds more wounded after three days of clashes between anti-government demonstrators demanding more opportunities and Iraqi security forces trying to quell the violence.

The spontaneous rallies began in Baghdad Tuesday by disenfranchised youths wanting jobs, improved services such as electricity and water, and an end to endemic corruption in the oil-rich country. By Thursday, the protests had spread to other regions of Iraq.

Authorities cut internet access in much of Iraq since late Wednesday in a concerted effort to curb the rallies. Social and messaging apps, used to organize the protests, were also blocked. By Thursday afternoon, a curfew was extended to three other southern provinces.

The unrest is the most serious challenge for Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s year-old government, which also has been caught in the middle of increasing U.S.-Iran tensions in the region. Iraq is allied with both countries and hosts thousands of U.S. troops, as well as powerful paramilitary forces allied with Iran.

Some Baghdad demonstrators blamed Iranian-backed groups within the security forces for the violence. Media affiliated with the Iranian-backed groups have pointed fingers at the United States and Saudi Arabia for the unrest.

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Falcon29

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The sectarian government of Iraq needs to be eradicated but Iraqis never learn. Glad that they start to stand up to Iran's influence inside Iraq. Iran was never a model to go by and never will.
The pro-Iran lot from Iraq and outside Iraq are working hard to demonize the protestors and to dismiss the protests. Those people really should keep their noses out and let Iraqi's demonstrate to achieve their stated objectives.
 

Falcon29

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@Doritos11

What do you think man. You are making stuff up about me supporting ISIS in the past. You're more than welcome to bring one proof of that. But, you can't. Because sadly you're not a good Iraqi like your friend Alshawi. You two worship Iran like no other and kick down your own people in order to elevate Iran.

This is the reality of Iraq, which is unlike what you and that crook make it out to be. 31 Iraqi's killed in these protests by worshippers of Iran and tomorrow will be biggest attendance for demonstrations. Of course not a single thing said by you or Alshawi. Since your people don't matter to you two, only Iran matters.

Sucks for you, you are not representative of Iraq or what its people are going through and the Iraqi people are sick of Iranian interference in their affairs whether you guys like it or not.
 

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