Anti-government protests have shaken Iraq and in particular its capital Baghdad since Friday. The demonstrations have followed a climax during this week-end, culminating today with the decision of the main authorities to declare the curfew to stem the clashes “until further notice“.
This is not the first outburst of protests in the country this month, as another wave of protests affected the country at the beginning of the month. Since then, many protesters, including high school and college students, have proven not to be frightened by the violence that was spreading in the streets, where security forces fired tear gas and stunned grenades to disperse them.
“It’s a student revolution, no to the government, no to parties!” demonstrators chanted in Tahrir Square, recognized as the centre of the protests. At least 72 protesters have been killed while screaming their anger on the face of the corrupted government and those numbers are still increasing steadily.
Behind those victims hides the anger and the fear of not surviving to a corrupted government. Now people are demanding Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi‘s government resign over corruption, mass unemployment and poor public services. Moreover, the violence used by the authorities during the wave of protests spreaded through October, made these anti government actions different from those of the past few years.
Indeed, a dangerous turn in the demonstrations was marked not only against the widespread corruption, but in particular against the entire system that was built after the US-led invasion, culminating in the death of Saddam Hussein in 2003, a system that has attempts to improve the life of the citizens of the country visibly failed.
Last year, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s government technocrats promised a solution to corruption and the gap between the elite and ordinary citizens. Almost a year later, he is proving himself incapable of this task. Now, his priority is to shut down the disorders and, as he has stated, he won’t resign from his post: this insistence will lead to the total loss of control of the situation and of trust of a people who is not being heard.