We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Facebook-organised protests spread across Iraq

A selection of clippings about demonstrations in Iraq over the last few days:

Popular anger boils over in Iraq

WSWS report (February 12th): Protest over social conditions spread to Iraq this week, as demonstrations broke out in numerous cities. Protesters stormed government buildings and a police station in Hamza, an impoverished and heavily Shiite community in southern Iraq, to protest shortages of power, food and jobs, as well as political corruption. Security officials allegedly opened fire on the demonstrators, killing one and wounding four others.
The National, from the United Arab Emirates, cited the comment of Abu Ali, who reportedly helped organize the protest: “There will be a revolution of the hungry and the jobless in Iraq, just as there was in Egypt,” he said. “It was a march by the unemployed, by those who have lost hope and who see [Prime Minister] Nouri al Maliki and the new government becoming another dictatorship.”
On February 10, protests of varying sizes took place in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Karbala, Diwaniyah, Kut, Ramadi, Samawah and Amara. In Baghdad’s Sadr City, demonstrators took to the streets to protest the lack of public services, unemployment and government corruption. Public sector employees joined residents in the protest. A group of employees from the Ministry of Industry denounced the decision to cut their pay by 20 percent.

Mass demonstrations spread to Iraq

Niqash reports (February 11th): The last two weeks have seen several spontaneous demonstrations across the country, in the cities of Kut, Diwaniya and Basra, in the south, Anbar in the west, and the districts of al-Husseiniya and al-Kraiat, north of Baghdad. 

The protesters’ grievances have been many and varied: the quality and level of basic services, government restrictions on civil liberties and freedom of expression, violations against civil servants, and the rampant financial and administrative corruption within state institutions. 

In Basra, around one hundred protesters demanded the resignation of the governor and members of the local council, accusing them of corruption. They carried yellow cards, like those used by referees at football matches. 

In Baghdad, hundreds of people gathered in Bab al-Sham neighbourhood to demand better basic services and the resignation of local government officials. The protesters carried a coffin inscribed with the word "services". 

And in the city’s al-Mutanabi Street, famous for its bookshops, hundreds of intellectuals, writers, journalists, activists and young people described as the facebook generation took part in sit-ins, condemning the restrictions imposed on their freedom, such as the decision taken by Baghdad Provincial Council to close nightclubs and bars. 

Lawyers lead anti-government protests in several Iraq cities
AP reports (February 13th):  Iraqi lawyers called for the end of judicial corruption and prisoner abuse in a protest Thursday that was one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Iraq since the start of popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Dressed in the black cloaks they wear in court, Iraqi attorneys led a peaceful crowd of about 3,000 through a Sunni Muslim neighbourhood in western Baghdad, where there is simmering resentment against the Shiite-led government.
Lawyers in the cities of Basra and Mosul also held similar but smaller demonstrations, demanding better jobs and electricity services in Iraqi homes.

Security forces prevent protestors from entering Green Zone
Aswat Al-Iraq reports (February 11th): Security forces prevented hundreds of protestors from entering the fortified Green Zone, a security source said.
“Security forces prevented scores of protestors from entering the Green Zone, while a number of lawmakers are preparing to go to the angry men to negotiate and listen to their demands,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
Iraqi bloggers use Facebook to call for demonstrations
Asharq Alawsat reports (February 11th): Comments posted by Iraqis, both inside and outside of the country, on the social networking website "Facebook" in favor and support of the young Egyptians protesting in Cairo's Tahrir Square have now transformed into a call for Iraqi citizens to conduct peaceful demonstrations calling for improved government services, more security, and improved political and economic conditions.

Iraq subsidises power after protests over services

Reuters report (February 12th):  Iraqis will receive their first 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity for free each month, the Ministry of Electricity said, following growing protests over poor electricity supply and basic services. In the most recent demonstration, hundreds of people gathered in Baghdad on Friday to protest shoddy services and sporadic power, as turmoil rocks other parts of the Arab world.

Last October, Iraqis began receiving electricity bills containing a 100 percent price increase following a government decision aimed at encouraging consumers to economise and to help tackle crippling power shortages.

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