Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iraq, July 21, 2018 - Many cities in central and southern Iraq are witnessing continuing demonstrations as protesters demand better services and express their anger over the Iranian regime’s meddling in their country.
Iran-backed Badr Corps members opened fire on demonstrators in Diwaniyah Province of southern Iraq, killing one person and leaving two others wounded on Friday. Various sectors of the country had called for continued demonstrations on this day, protesting unemployment and corruption. Such demonstrations were witnessed in Iraq’s southern provinces and Baghdad.
The media cited a medical source in Diwaniya saying a 20-year-old young man was among the demonstrators killed by units protecting the Badr group site.
Demonstrations against corrupt parties linked to the Iranian regime
Massive demonstrations were also witnessed in Basra and Ziqar provinces of southern Iraq where thousands of people participated. The protesters rallied outside Basra’s governor office chanting slogans against Iranian affiliate corrupt political parties. They also called for decent government services and job opportunities.
Hundreds of protesters rallied in al-Habubi Square in downtown Nasiriyah, one of the largest cities in Dhi Qar Province. They raised Iraqi flags and protested government corruption. The demonstrators also had placards demanding the sacking of the Electricity Minister, the provincial governor and senior province governors.
Protesters also surrounded the house of Dhi Qar Governor Yahya al-Naseri and security forces prevented them from entering the estate by firing tear gas into the angry crowd.
Baghdad – Green Zone
Demonstrators passed through the capital’s Jomhouri Bridge and were heading towards the famous “Green Zone,” home to all government institutions and foreign embassies. In response, anti-riot units were dispatched to the scene using water-cannon trucks and tear gas.
Arab media reported nearly 30 protesters were seen suffocating in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square alone.
Many of the demonstration coordination committees had called for demonstrations at this site in solidarity with demonstrations in Iraq’s southern provinces.
Muqtada Sadr, in his first remarks regarding the southern province demonstrations, wrote:
“All the election’s victorious political factions should suspend coalition talks until the demonstrators’ rightful demands are responded to.”
Iraq’s southern provinces are rich in oil and yet they suffer from a lack of government services.
Basra’s streets are littered with trash, including pools of water and even sewage water, causing major health risks for the locals. Drinking water in this province has a very poor taste or is often muddy. Electricity is out seven hours a day in this province.
Washington has expressed its support for the Iraqi people’s peace demonstrations.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration supports the Iraqi people’s right to hold peaceful demonstrations. Washington believes poor water and electricity services are very painful issues, she added.
The Iraqi government recognizes the Iraqis right to hold peaceful demonstrations and intends to solve more of their problems, including government services, electricity, and economic opportunities, Nauert said.