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Demonstrations Are Gaining Momentum in Iraq, Offices and Roads Blocked

Protests in Iraq started last month when people took to the streets calling for the resignation of the government, the implementation of economic reforms and the elimination of corruption. They soon turned violent, leaving dozens dead and hundreds more injured.

Demonstrators in Baghdad and in the south of the country calling for change to Iraq's political system blocked roads and government buildings on Sunday, which hampered road movement and the work of government agencies.

"We decided to cut the roads as a message to the government that we will keep protesting until the corrupt people and thieves are kicked out and the regime falls", said 25-year-old Tahseen Nasser in the town of Kut, east of the capital.

Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has urged protesters to stop hindering road traffic as they had already achieved their goals.

"Threatening the oil interests and blocking roads leading to Iraq's ports is causing big losses exceeding billions of dollars", said Abdul Mahdi, warning that demonstrations was pushing up goods prices.

Some students, who joined protests along with trade union members, parked cars along the major roads to block traffic, with police officers taking no actions to suppress such a move.

Other students participated in sit-ins at their schools amid the national teachers'union strike which started last week. The engineering, doctors, and lawyers' unions have supported the protests in their turn.

​In late October, according to the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), over one hundred protesters were killed and some 5,500 injured in the second wave of unrest.

​According to the IHCHR, the first wave of unrest took the lives of around 150 protesters with some 3,500 more being injured.

In the wake of the protests, Iraqi President Barham Salih has stated that Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed to step down as protesters demand, but on the condition that political parties of Iraq agree on his successor in order to avoid anarchy.


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