Iraqis mark third anniversary of nationwide protests


Scuffles broke out between protesters and security forces injuring dozens as thousands gathered on Sunday in Iraqi cities to mark three years since nationwide demonstrations erupted against endemic corruption.

The latest protests come as Iraq has been mired in political paralysis since elections in October last year that have failed to bring in a new president, prime minister or government.

Protesters were heard chanting “the people demand the fall of the regime”, as thousands demonstrated in Baghdad’s iconic Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement, a correspondent said.

Many brandished portraits of the “martyrs” killed in the wave of rallies three years ago. “Today, it is essential to confront power,” activist Ali al-Habib said.

“All the bridges and roads are blocked because the authorities are afraid of the protesters,” he added, condemning “infighting within the political class, which completely ignores the will of the people”.

The demonstrations seek to revive the unprecedented protests of October 2019 that condemned rampant unemployment and the country’s decaying infrastructure.

Those protests raged for months before winding down under the shadow of coronavirus restrictions and a harsh crackdown that saw at least 600 demon-strators killed and tens of thousands more wounded.

The protesters on Saturday gathered at Al-Jumhuriya Bridge, where they attempted to overcome a series of barriers set up by security forces to block access to the fortified Green Zone that houses government buildings and diplomatic missions.—AFP

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