By Jubin Katiraie
The nationwide demonstrations in Iraq in more than 10 provinces against government corruption is underway with the motto “Iran regime out”.
This is the biggest demonstration in a year, according to international news agencies. Demonstrators set fire to a number of government centers and clashed with security officials. So far, about 44 demonstrators have been killed and hundreds injured.
The nationwide demonstration in Iraq has been accompanied by the slogan “Iran regime out” and setting fire to the governor's centers.
“Stay free Baghdad, Iran, go out” - this is the slogan of the Iraqi people who demanded the expulsion of the Iranian ‘regime’ from their country.
Reuters news agency reported from Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday declared a curfew in Baghdad until further notice after at least seven people were killed and more than 400 were injured during two days of nationwide anti-government protests.
Curfews were imposed earlier in three southern cities while elite counter-terrorism troops opened fire on protesters trying to storm Baghdad airport and deployed to the southern city of Nassiriya after gunfights broke out between protesters and security forces, police sources said.
Iraqi demonstrations, which began on Tuesday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, quickly spread across central and southern cities and provinces. Karbala, Najaf, Nasiriyah, Maysan, Kirkuk, Hilla, Babylon, Baquba, Al-Muthanna, Diwaniyah, and several other cities were the scene of demonstrations.
More than 1041 injured in Iraq uprising:
On the third day of widespread protests in various Iraqi cities, news agencies reported on Thursday that protesters rallied in Baghdad despite the military rule.
According to the Iraqi Independent Human Rights Commission, 1041 people have been injured during the demonstration so far, and Iraqi security forces have detained 216 protesters.
Iran-affiliated Hashid al-Shaba'i militants opened fire on demonstrators, killing many and injuring hundreds. The Iraqi government immediately imposed traffic regulations in Baghdad, and in the southern cities of Nasiriyah, Amara and Hele curfew was declared. Iraqi demonstrators stormed Baghdad airport on Wednesday but were met with security forces’ fire.
Iraqi Special Forces used real ammunition and tear gas on Wednesday to counter the crowd at the Baghdad airport, Iraqi police sources told Reuters.
A number of people were killed and injured in Wednesday's nationwide and new clashes in what has been the largest demonstration of popular outrage against the one-year-old government of Adel Abdul Mahdi.
"We won't change, we want to overthrow this government," one demonstrator told Reuters.
Reuters news agency said in another Iraq report that amid a nationwide anti-government demonstration that clashed with internet access blocked in most parts of Iraq, including its capital Baghdad, and the quality of connectivity fell below 70%.
Since Wednesday, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as messaging software such as WhatsApp have been shut down across Iraq, except for Kurdistan. Kurdistan has different internet infrastructure. Internet services could only be accessed through a VPN that does not actually represent the user's location.
The Washington Post wrote: This is the largest demonstration against the shaky government and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's one-year rule until now. Demonstrators gathered to protest a range of problems that have affected the daily lives of many Iraqis, including corruption, lack of services and unemployment. Similar demonstrations took place in the cities of Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, and Basra. "International Transparency" ranks Iraqi institutions as the 12th most corrupt nation in the world.
Amnesty International: Iraqi security forces clash with demonstrators, shameful and shocking:
Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday: The Iraqi government must immediately order security forces to stop the use of surplus force, including the use of deadly force, to use force against demonstrators, and to ensure that investigations start immediately.
Amnesty International also called for Iraqi authorities to end the illegal filtering of internet and social media and to abolish traffic bans in several areas, while nationwide protests over unemployment, corruption and poor public services are continuing.
Amnesty International's director of Middle East investigations said that the reaction of the security forces' with the demonstrators with such cruelty and atrocity and the use of unnecessary and deadly force was embarrassing and shocking.