In Alhurra

Iraqi Prime Minister to the demonstrators: your demands for reform and our link

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said early on Friday that Iraqis are “facing the choices of the state and the state.”

“We have had great experiences until we have reached a democratic march … We want to serve and work sincerely,” Abdul Mahdi said in a televised address to the Iraqi people.

The Iraqi Prime Minister called on the demonstrators not to pay attention to “the advocates of despair and calls to return back,” pointing out that “some slogans raised revealed attempts to ride the demonstrations and waste,” and that the escalation of the demonstration “is now leading to losses and injuries.”

Abdul-Mahdi vowed that his government will not promise “empty promises or offer solutions,” stressing the need to restore life to the provinces and respect for the rule of law, and pointed out that “security options such as curfews are indispensable as bitter medicine.”

Abdul-Mahdi called on the House of Representatives to “make ministerial amendments away from political quotas,” and said “we agreed with the Council of the judiciary to release detainees who did not commit criminal acts,” and expressed regret for the success of some in “derailing the demonstrations on the peaceful path.”

Speech of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi

“Your demands for reform and the fight against corruption are our link,” he told the demonstrators. “Hold us accountable for everything we can do in the immediate term and there are no magic solutions.”

He added that unemployment “did not make it and the destroyed infrastructure we inherited,” and that the interests of the government began to distribute land to the deserving segments of the people.

“Those who think that they are far from being held accountable are wrong and we are sticking to the constitution,” he said.

Today the bloodiest

Thursday was the deadliest since the start of Tuesday’s protests, which killed at least 30 people during unprecedented violent clashes between protesters and security forces.

From Baghdad, demonstrations demanding the departure of “corrupt” and job opportunities for young people extended to most southern cities.

Special forces armored vehicles in Baghdad intervened to repel the crowds, while security forces on the ground fired live bullets that bounced back at demonstrators.

“We are continuing until the overthrow of the regime,” said protester Ali, a 22-year-old unemployed graduate.

“I am out of work. I want to get married. I have only 250 dinars (less than a quarter of a dollar) in my pocket, and state officials have millions,” he said, in a country that ranks 12 on the world’s most corrupt list, according to Transparency International.

Abu Jaafar, a retired al-Shaib, whose head was conquered, said: “I support young people. Why are the police shooting Iraqis like them? They are like us oppressed. They have to help us and protect us.”

To date, this movement seems to be spontaneous. No political or religious party or leader has declared its support, in what is considered a precedent in Iraq.

With 30 people killed, including two policemen, 18 of them in the southern province of Dhi Qar alone, the movement turned Thursday into a battle in Baghdad on several axes leading to Tahrir Square, the symbolic central gathering point of the demonstrators.

The demonstrators arrived in Baghdad on trucks, carrying the flags of Iraq and religious ones with the names of the infallible Shiite imams, and the demonstrators chanted several slogans, including “in the spirit of blood we redeem you, Iraq.”

In the face of them, riot police and the army formed human rings around the ministries, especially the Ministry of Oil.

In al-Tayaran Square in central Baghdad, demonstrators pounded two military vehicles and set them on fire, according to AFP.

On Thursday, security forces again fired live ammunition to disperse demonstrators despite a curfew that came into effect at dawn.

Friday will be an important political test for the prime minister, with the sermon expected to be delivered by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose opinion is crucial on a wide range of Iraqi political issues.

As the movement seems to be spontaneous, Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr decided to put his weight on the balance of the protests, calling on his supporters, who paralyzed the country’s joints in 2016 with protests in the capital, to organize “peaceful sit-ins” and “general strike”, raising fears of increased mobilization in the street .

Elsewhere in the capital and in several cities, protesters continue to block roads or light tires in front of official buildings in Najaf or Nasiriyah in the south.

“Excessive force”

The government, which accused “aggressors” and “mendes” of “deliberately causing casualties among demonstrators”, appears to have made a firm choice.

In a statement, Amnesty International called on Baghdad to “immediately order the security forces to cease the use of force, including lethal excessive force,” and restore contacts.

There was a massive Internet outage in Iraq, which reached about 75 percent on Thursday, according to a specialized organization.

Protesters in Baghdad sought to head to Tahrir Square, which is separated from the Green Zone by Jumhuriya Bridge, where security forces have been tightened since Tuesday.

The protests hit several provinces in the south of the country, such as the oil city of Basra, which witnessed last year bloody protests.

However, the movements did not extend to the western and northern provinces, especially the Sunni areas devastated by the war against ISIS and the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.

War-weary Iraq has suffered chronic power cuts and drinking water for years.

Official reports indicate that since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, about $ 450 billion of public funds have disappeared, four times the state budget, and more than double Iraq’s GDP. Source