Iraqi demonstrators return to streets demanding anti-corruption reforms


BAGHDAD, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated Sunday in the capital Baghdad and several provinces in central and southern the country to mark the anniversary of the mass anti-government protests that demanded comprehensive corruption reforms.

Hundreds of protesters rallied in al-Tahrir Square in the morning in central Baghdad to demand reforms and accountability for those who killed hundreds of protesters in previous months.

Later in the day, dozens of protesters tried to remove concrete barriers on the nearby al-Jumhuriya and al-Sinak bridges, prompting the security forces to fire tear gas to disperse the crowds, while some protesters threw Molotov cocktails on the troops.

A statement by the spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces Yehia Rasool said that “a group of saboteurs infiltrated with the demonstrators and began throwing hand grenades on the security forces, wounding 32 security members, including two officers.”

During the demonstration, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi visited the headquarters of the Joint Operations Command and the Federal Police in Baghdad to discuss the protection of the demonstrators and to ensure their right to express their opinion, according to a statement issued by al-Kadhimi media office.

Haider al-Saadi, a protester told Xinhua “we continue our demonstrations because we want the government to identify the killers of the demonstrators, and we demand to reform the political process.”

“Al-Kadhimi’s government responded to some of our demands, including early elections and holding some of the corrupt accountable,” al-Saadi added.

Mass anti-government demonstrations have been continuing in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since October 2019, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services, and more job opportunities.

As part of his efforts to compensate the families of those killed in the protests across the country, al-Kadhimi decided to pay the salaries of 561 families of the victims. Enditem