Published: 2020-10-25 12:30
Last Updated: 2020-10-25 12:30
Thousands of Iraqis went Sunday to Tahrir Square and the vicinity of the Green Zone, where the government is based in Baghdad, to renew their protest against the authorities’ inability to carry out reforms and hold accountable those involved in suppressing the demonstrations against their ‘revolution’ since last year.
The protest was renewed Sunday, on the one-year anniversary of this unprecedented popular uprising, despite the repercussions of the tension between Iran and the United States and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is an important day, we are here to continue the protests," which began in October 2019, during which about 600 protesters were killed and 30,000 wounded, student Muhammad Ali told AFP from Tahrir Square.
"We have the same demands as last year," Ali added, while hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have been holding sit-ins for months in Baghdad and other cities in southern Iraq.
The protesters are calling for improving services, tackling unemployment and combating rampant corruption in Iraq, which is the second producer of black gold in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Tahrir Square, the main stronghold of the protests in Baghdad, turned into a village of tents, most of which were covered with pictures of the "martyrs" of the uprising, while demonstrators gathered near the Green Zone, where the headquarters of the government, parliament and the US embassy are located.
Security forces imposed strict measures, including the deployment of forces since Saturday night, in central Baghdad, which prevented countries from approaching cars or vehicles from Tahrir Square and the bridges leading to the Green Zone.
The activists seemed divided: Some believed that Tahrir Square is the only safe place for protesters to gather, while others headed near the Green Zone, on the other side of Baghdad.
The protests sparked on October 1, 2019, which began spontaneously to criticize unemployment, poor public services, rampant corruption and the political class that the demonstrators see as more loyal to Iran or the United States than to the Iraqi people.