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Iraq: Nearly 100 Dead in Anti-Government Protests

Iraq: Nearly 100 Dead in Anti-Government Protests

Security officials in Iraq shot and killed 19 civilians in Baghdad this Saturday during the fifth consecutive day of anti-government protests. 

Nearly 100 people have been killed and more than 6,000 injured since Tuesday, when protestors initiated rallies to demand jobs, better access to water and electricity, and an end to government corruption.

Demonstrations are led mainly by young men, who face an unemployment rate of nearly 25%.

Authorities responded to the protests by blocking the Internet Wednesday and imposing a curfew Thursday. Security forces, backed by the army, have used tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, and live rounds to disperse the protestors.

Friday was the deadliest day so far, with 22 people killed. Security forces reported 8 of their members killed and over 1,000 wounded since Tuesday.

The past seven days represent the most violence Iraq has seen since the defeat of ISIS In 2017, though the county has struggled with the effects of multiple unfinished wars since the defeat of Saddam Hussein in 2003. 

“It has been 16 years of corruption and injustice,” says Abbas Najm, an unemployed engineer who participated in Saturday’s protest. “We are not afraid of bullets or the death of martyrs. We will keep going and we won’t back down.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi described protestors’ demands as “legitimate,” but defended police action as a “bitter medicine” necessary to quell the violence. His government announced a series of reforms this week, but the vague promises to address poverty and unemployment are unlikely to satisfy protestors. 

“There seems to be a lot of anger towards the government, but it’s also coming not just from the protests but from the parliament itself,” explains Al Jazeera reporter Imran Khan, who spoke with protestors in Iraq. “But this government is only a year old and these problems are a lot older than that.”

Legislators were unable to hold an emergency session of parliament scheduled for Saturday when a number of key lawmakers failed to appear.

“Three major blocs decided they were going to boycott that session because they said the government didn’t have an agenda it could implement so therefore it was not worth going to the meeting,” said Khan.

Populist nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has urged lawmakers to suspend their parliamentary membership and boycott sessions. On Friday, he called for snap elections and for Abdul Mahdi’s resignation.

Several neighboring countries have urged residents not to travel to Iraq.

Author’s Note: The United States attempted to set up a democratic government in Iraq, but Democracy can’t be given, it must be earned. These protests may push Iraq along that path, but unfortunately, chaos in the Middle East generally ends with the extremists gaining more power.

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  1. James

    Put Adam Shit in jail he has betrayed America

  2. l2a3

    What most fail to understand is that Democracy must be wanted! It cannot be used by those who do not understand how it works, but say the word thinking it will happen.
    Democracy is foreign to these people who have been raised under a dictatorship/a one man ruler who controlled everything. They had no real voice in the running of the Government. (Like Islam)
    The majority will not or can not change and live in a democracy as they have been beaten into being, for a better word “slaves” to their previous live and customs. They do not understand what the change entails, they cannot do anything they want, as they believe that is what Democracy means.
    The West screwed up trying to bring people living in the 3rd century into the 21st century, in on swoop. It like education, you do not expect a 3rd grader to know how to run a democracy, but you expect a 3rd century person to. The educated people wanting to lead these people are power hungry looking for what is best for me not them. (Just like everywhere in the world today).
    Just my humble opinion after living 71 years experiencing life among the locals (and yes I grew up among them also) around the world in Asia, Europe, Central American and the United State. Been there, done that, but didn’t get my tee shirt.

    • George Peabody

      U.S. Democracy
      our Christian God INSPIRED Constitution FOR the USA IS ONLY ADEQUATE government for a good and moral people,  When the people are lost from God, freedom is lost, and dictators, devils, socialism, communism, voodoo, ISLAM, etc. will step in to bring the people under their control.

  3. Hot Ron

    This new story even though you’re reporting it it is not telling the whole truth Allah the demonstrators art piece going. The ones that have been shot and killed have Iranian Passports why isn’t your news article reporting that but there are insurgence from foreign countries causing this problem. Stop the fake news organizations

  4. Thomas

    Hey … no problem . Just a few Dead Muslims … they will breed more !