The number of deaths on the fifth day of protests in Iraq on Tuesday. According to the Iraqi Parliament’s Human Rights Commission, the number of those killed in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces is around 100.
The commission announced that more than 3,000 people were injured.
The government tried to control the demonstrations by imposing curfews and restricting access to the internet and social media, but the actions continue to increase in severity. On Saturday, police blocked roads and access points leading to the main squares in the capital, Baghdad.
Parliament convened on Saturday after the demonstrations intensified.
Protesters continued their protests in the streets and on the streets, as authorities lifted the curfew in Baghdad on Saturday.
The Parliament’s Human Rights Commission said that 540 people were detained and about 200 were still in custody.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdulmehdi, in a statement on the protests’ demonstrators’ legitimate demands heard ‘said that the call for sobriety.
The country has not witnessed such demonstrations since the new government took office last year. Security forces intervened violently in the demonstrations. Prime Minister Adil Abdulmehdi, “I understand people’s frustration, but there is no magic solution to the problems of Iraq,” he said.
Protesters, most of whom are unemployed university graduates, are not known to act under the leadership of a leader, formation or political party.
Harsh measures since Tuesday or officials’ statements to calm the incidents have also failed.
We have compiled in 5 questions why the protests in Iraq started now, the underlying reasons and the possible consequences.
What’s behind the protests?
The Iraqi Constitution was written in 2005, two years after the US-led allies invaded the country. The first elections were held in the same year.
However, the political structure in Iraq has not stabilized since then. This directly affected the social and economic situation and daily life in the country. The vulnerability in most of Iraq brought along bomb attacks and deaths of civilians. For this reason, the protesters went to the street from time to time.
Although 16 years have passed since the occupation, the US influence in the country continued to a great extent, and Iran, which tried to establish dominance in the country through Shiite militias and politicians, resulted in the lack of political stability. This has triggered “national motivation” demonstrations among Iraqis over the last few years.
Since 2016 the United States from time to time, and contain Iran’s limited military presence in the country even though Turkey’s diplomatic missions have been protests in front.
The majority of the population is Shiite, and the Prime Minister is chosen among Shiite politicians. Most of these economic-based protests and reactions, although seen as privileged by other groups, began in Shiite-densely populated areas, especially in the south of the country.
After the elections held in May last year in Iraq, the government could not be formed for months; demonstrations in summer, protesting “lack of clean water, power cuts, unemployment and corruption”, grew again in the southern city of Basra. Both government buildings were set on fire.
Why did the demonstrations begin?
The latest protests began Tuesday in the capital Baghdad and in the southern cities of Basra, Nasiriyah, Amara, Samava and Hilla. Thousands of people gathered in Basra and smaller peaceful demonstrations were held in other cities.
There have also been small-scale demonstrations in Kirkuk, Tikrit and Diyala, the controversial regions where Kurdish populations also live.
“The protests continue unless the Prime Minister and the corrupt party system are overthrown,” the banners carried by the demonstrators said.
Prime Minister Adil Abdulmehdi, who took office in October last year, dismissed General Abdul-Wahap al-Saadi, the “Commander of Elite Counter Terrorism Forces”, last week. There was no official explanation for the decision.
The forces commanded by the general, who played an important role in the operations against ISIS since 2014 and “appreciated the success” of the Iraqis, are being trained by the United States. These forces are armed by the US Department of Defense (Pentagon).
The allegations that al-Saadi was dismissed from the dissatisfaction of Iranian politicians sparked reaction across the country at the weekend, and small-scale protests were held in Baghdad on Sunday.