Anti-government protests intensify in Iraqi youth
- January 20, 2020
- Andrew S Gillis
Baghdad: Slower Iraqi youths intensify protests at the slow pace of the government’s reform program, burning tires and blocking roads and threatening further provocation if demands are not approved.
According to a report published in the Dawn newspaper, these protest rallies began in October last year, with demands for the correctness of the rule of governance, but due to ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran, it had declined significantly.
Protesters fear that Iraq may be caught in geopolitical tensions, so last Monday the government was given a week to make progress on reforms promises.
On Sunday, a day before the aforementioned deadline, hundreds of youths arrived at the central protest camp at Baghdad’s Tehran Chowk and Tahrir Chowk.
Where they burned tires and closed highways and bridges, forcing cars to return and causing traffic jams throughout the city.
Medical and security sources said that when security forces tried to end the sit-in by burning shells of tear gas, the protesters responded with stones, resulting in the injuries to 10 people, including police officers.
It is to be noted that the protesters are demanding premature elections based on the reform voting law so that the new prime minister can replace the current caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and hold the officials responsible for corruption.
It may be recalled that Abd al-Mahdi resigned two months ago but the political parties could not agree on the decision of his successor since then, so he is taking over the caretaker government.
On the other hand, those whose names are circulating as their potential successors have been rejected by the protesters because they fear that other reform measures will not be implemented.
In this regard, the protesters said, “We have begun intensifying the demonstrations from today because the government is not responding to our demands, which include the demand that an independent government be formed to protect Iraq. Be given
Meanwhile, in Najaf, youths were carrying Iraqi flags, wrapped in white and black scarves, and burnt tires and sat down on the main road to Baghdad.
It is to be remembered that this demonstration, which began on October 1, 2019, is the largest and most bloody demonstration in Iraq in decades, killing 460 people and injuring 25,000.