Protests resume in Baghdad on third anniversary of Tishreen movement

10/1/2022 5:09:48 PM
 Anti-government protesters gather on the closed Joumhouriya Bridge that leads to the Green Zone government areas in Baghdad.
 photo: AP/ Khalid Mohammed
Large protests at Al-Jumhuriya Bridge in Baghdad and limited skirmishes with security marks today's unrest in the Iraqi capital.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the capital today, Saturday, while some tried to cross the Al-Jumhuriya Bridge into the Green Zone, which led to some minor clashes with the security forces.

While the security forces indicated that they had spotted some intruders, stressing that they deal with the demonstrators responsibly, without carrying weapons or resorting to any violent means.

Some rioters used Molotov cocktails, hunting rifles and ammunition against the security forces, which led to the injury of 19 officers instructed to protect protesters. Nine civilians were injured in the riots as well.

A message was sent to the organizers of the protests, calling on them to hand over "the rioters immediately, and to maintain peaceful movements and to prevent chaos."

KurdSat reporter said that minor clashes occurred in Baghdad, resulting in 17 injuries. 

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Baghdad to commemorate the third anniversary of the significant and unprecedented uprising against the government, corruption and mismanagement of public services in a country experiencing complete political paralysis.

The protesters, mostly young people, gathered in the symbolic Tahrir Square and cried against politicians and militias, raising Iraqi flags and pictures of the people killed in the 2019 protests. 

They also gathered at the entrance to the Jumhuriya Bridge, which the security forces closed with three concrete blocks to prevent access to the Green Zone. The Zone is home to Iraq's Parliament, the council of ministers and foreign diplomatic missions. 

In October 2019, protests erupted across the country, especially in the poor governorates of the south. It lasted for several months, during which hundreds of thousands of demonstrators camped in Tahrir Square, denouncing the spread of unemployment, the collapse of infrastructure, lack of democracy, and corruption.

Official figures put the number of the dead at around 500 people, while local sources talk of a thousand. The protest weakened after over 500 people were killed and close to 8 thousand people injured also, Covid quarantine measures played a role.

Three years after the protests, not much has changed in Iraq. Stalemate still characterizes the political situation, and the atmosphere is tense.

The two primary political opponents (Muqtada al-Sadr and the Coordination Framework) are facing each other over the appointment of a new prime minister and the possibility of early legislative elections.

On the one hand, the influential Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr demands an immediate dissolution of parliament, while the pro-Iran Coordination Framework wants to form a government.

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