Citizens have been holding a sit-in since July 30 near the Parliament, accusing the Shiite governments of failing to get rid of corruption and poor governance.
Amid a protracted political stalemate in Iraq, the followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr vowed to continue holding protests in Baghdad until their demands for comprehensive reforms and anti-corruption fight are met.
Iraq: Demonstrators Storm Parliament Building Downtown Baghdad
Hundreds of al-Sadr followers have been holding a sit-in since July 30 near the parliament building inside the Green Zone and outside the nearby gate of the zone, accusing the Shiite governments since 2003 of failing to get rid of corruption and poor governance.
On Aug. 3, al-Sadr called for dissolving the parliament and holding early elections. Ibrahim al-Jaberi, a Shiite cleric who heads al-Sadr's office, said that "those sit-in protesters are here for more than a week and are determined to bring about change that serves all Iraqi people in all aspects, without a sectarian or ethnic difference."
Al-Jaberi said that all the protesters will continue the sit-in until their demands are met, whether it is about dissolving the parliament or removing the corrupt parties. Al-Sadr's demands are supported by some political figures and factions, including parliament Speaker Mohammad al-Halbousi and former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
However, there is no official response from al-Sadr's Shiite opponents in the Coordination Framework (CF), an umbrella group of Shiite parliamentary parties. But some CF members, such as former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, have rejected al-Sadr's demands.
NATO first came to life to help the US and its allies prosecute the Korean War.— Socialist Action (@SocialistAct) June 29, 2022
Its first operations were to support the US attack on Iraq.
NATO has always been an aggressive, global war machine (graphic via @telesurenglish).#NATOSummit pic.twitter.com/eHQ3E9Ua4E
Al-Maliki said in a statement that "there is no dissolving of parliament, no change to the political process, and no early elections unless the parliament returns to session, and it is for the parliament to discuss these demands."
Since the announcement of the protest, al-Sadr followers and supporters from tribes and some political parties have erected dozens of tents and pavilions around the parliament building and in its gardens, and the streets inside and outside the nearby gate of the Green Zone.
Abu Haider, a tribal leader, said that the protesters called for reforms in this country, where "the most basic rights of the citizen are not available" because there is no electricity and youth have no jobs or a decent life. "We went out to support the reforms called for by al-Sadr because, for 19 years, nothing has changed, and we demand a complete change of the political process," he added.
Haider Kareem, chief of the al-Jourani tribe, said that the youth of his tribe "continue their sit-in and support for leader Moqtada al-Sadr in reforms for the sake of Iraq, a decent life and a safe place for all our youth of all sects."
Some tents and pavilions placed banners supporting al-Sadr's demands to reform the political process and hold the corrupt accountable. Many volunteers distributed food, fruit, juices, tea and water to the protesters. Ayad al-Talqani, a young man from the Wasit province, volunteered to buy cold water and soft drinks and distribute them to the protesters.
Massive Protests in Iraq!!!— 777 HERCULES 777 (@77HERCULES77) July 30, 2022
A bulldozer demolishes security barriers at the entrance of a government zone in Iraq.
The Protesters invaded and took over Parliament for the 2nd time this week and occupy many Government buildings… pic.twitter.com/17VkU6CEUG
"I support them because their demands serve the entire Iraqi people. We want to get rid of corruption, and we want public services so that we can live like the rest of the people of the world," al-Talqani said.
Nadhum al-Jubouri, a political analyst, mentioned he believes that the protests of al-Sadr supporters will continue to pressure the political blocs and the government to carry out reforms, hold the corrupt officials accountable, dissolve the parliament, and hold early elections.
"I think the protests will increase, especially after al-Maliki rejected the demands of al-Sadr," al-Jubouri said, predicting that al-Sadr would take a tough stance on his Shiite opponents in CF. He said that al-Sadr adopted the demands of the Iraqi people, who are displeased with the Shiite governments since 2003 for failing to fight corruption and improving governance.
Al-Jubouri explained that al-Sadr took the side of the people by "pulling the rug from under the opponent Shiite parties to become a popular leader in Iraq without a rival."
"There will be no successful political process as long as the Sadrist movement is excluded, because he can mobilize the street protests against political parties that do not support his position," al-Jubouri said.
"Without any sanction from the UN Security Council, the United States and NATO have carried out illegitimate military operations in nine countries around the world, including Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria" #Russia #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/xJw74qvbG6— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) March 24, 2022