The origin of Iraq protests can be traced back to 2015, when the citizens started raising their voices against deteriorating economic conditions and corruptions in many cities of Iraq. The current protests are an extension of the same old reason that has now achieved greater influence, with the involvement of thousands of Iraqis.
The clashes between the demonstrators and the police in the last few days have resulted in 93 deaths and 3,978 injured in Iraq. Of those killed, 38 were protesters and three were security officers. The security forces have detained 454 since protests erupted in several Iraqi cities on Tuesday, while 287 have been released.
During a speech on Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi called the demonstrators’ demands for work opportunities and comprehensive reforms “righteous”, adding that the government needs to do more to combat corruption.
Though the question is if Abdul-Mahdi being in power since 2018, could not take appropriate steps then who would become the liberator of Iraqis.
From decades, Iraqis have been suffering due to lack of basic services, including poor education facilities that has further given rise to unemployment in the country. The poor living circumstances have only aggravated the cause of protests in Iraq.
With erupting protests in southern and central Iraq during mid-July of 2018, the Iraqis burned the headquarters of Kataib Hezbollah in Najaf, while sacking the city’s airport. Moreover, many protestors in southern Iraq blocked the border with Iraq. The Iraqi Army in order to counter the mass unrest, redeployed forces in the north.
Meanwhile, the government started to crackdown on the increasing violence during the protests. On September 2018, an Iraqi tribesman Makki Yassir al-Kaabi’s death near the provincial capital in Basra heightened the protests and their hatred against the armed forces.
Basra’s summer protests returned this year in June, where the demonstrators gathered outside the city’s new administrative headquarters, blaming the officials for poor basic services and unemployment. Although the presence of riot police at the scene led to peaceful protests.
In the first week of October, the Iraq protests gained momentum in Baghdad, leading to curfew in the capital and several southern cities. In the counter attack the authorities imposed an internet blackout and shut down 75 percent of the country’s internet access, while deploying extra security troops at Baghdad International Airport.
Amid all the preventions, the death toll during the Iraq protests has soared to its highest in the last five days. Well what is more concerning is that the government claims that it would “soon” present a project to offer a basic wage for the poor so that “all Iraqi families can live in dignity”, yet the realization alone is not sufficient to get to the cause of the instability that has been rooting for years.
Since the protests have gained worldwide recognition, the US-led coalition against ISIS remains concerned over the loss of life and injuries and has asked “all sides to reduce tensions”.