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الخميس، 5 سبتمبر 2013

Iraq: Nouri al-Maliki couldn't stop the Saturday protests

Iraq: Nouri al-Maliki couldn't stop the Saturday protests

The Common Ills

Iraqi Prime Minister and chief thug Nouri tried to stop the Saturday protests in Iraq.  He did not succeed.  He insisted that they needed to be halted to protect the protesters.  This despite the fact that only his own forces have killed any of the protesters in the time since these protests started on December 21st.  Today that happened again, the only one harming the protesters was Nouri's forces.   World Bulletin explains:

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Baghdad and central and southern Iraq on Saturday against generous pension payments to lawmakers in a county where many are still struggling to get jobs and basic services.
Police surrounded the rare demonstration in the capital and security forces armed with batons, teargas and water canon broke up one gathering in the southern city of Nassiriya, witnesses and security forces said.
The protests marked widespread anger at the monthly payments of thousands of dollars and other benefits to government and parliamentary officials.


Iraqi Spring MC reports protesters in Baghdad (above) chanted "Oil is for the people!"  Euronews adds, "Thousands have marched in the Iraqi city of Kerbala in a protest over benefits for politicians.
Lawmakers in the country can claim pensions of up to 80 per cent of salary, after just four years in parliament."  Alsumaria reports hundreds turned out in Basra and quotes protester Saad Khazal Salman stating that widows, orphans, people with special needs and cancer patients are suffering while the Iraqi officials live lives of ease.  Ahmed Hussein and Sam Mahmoud (Alsumaria) report that hundreds turned out in Karbala.  Sam Mahmoud and Ghassan Hamid (Alsumaria) report that protesters turned out in Babylon and protest coordinator Ayed al-Awadi states they are giving the central government 30 days to make changes based on their demands.

On Friday Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International both called for the protesters to be allowed to utilize their Constitutional rights.  But Nouri still attempted to stop the protests.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports, "Authorities in Baghdad refused to permit demonstrations there. They put in place extraordinary security measures, such as blocking bridges and deploying large numbers of rifle-toting soldiers and police in major squares." 

Iraqi Spring MC notes Nouri's SWAT forces attempted to prevent the protests in Dhi Qar.  Similar incidents took place in Baghdad and BaijiAl Jazeera reports, "Riot police armed with batons, tear gas and water canon broke up one gathering in the city of Nasiriyah.  Witnesses and security forces said 11 people were wounded and 10 detained.  [. . .]  Security forces blocked bridges and deployed large numbers of soldiers and police in major squares - an extraordinary show of force that protesters said was mainly taken to prevent demonstrators from congregating in larger numbers."  All Iraq News notes an investigative committee has been formed in Dhi Qar Province to investigate the attack.   NINA adds:

Ahrar bloc's Secretariat strongly condemned what it describes 'attacks on peaceful and unarmed demonstrators' calling on security authorities to immediately release the detainees.

In a statement on Saturday, Aug. 31, the bloc said that it strongly condemns attacks on the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, calling on security authorities to immediately release those of them who have been detained.

It added that Ahrar bloc urges all political blocs and nongovernmental, human rights and civil society organizations to demand the rights of the deprived Iraqis through pressuring the government to grant them the legitimate rights.

All Iraq News also reports that Ayad Allawi called out Nouri for his attempts to ban the protests.  After that, Nouri suddenly came out in favor of the protests -- after they had taken placeKurdish MP Mahmoud Othman calls out Nouri for saying now that he agrees with the protesters demand.

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