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Thousands of Iraqis demonstrate for better services

2 October 2015 21:32



Iraqis have held demonstrations in the capital, Baghdad, and several other cities urging the government to fulfill its promised reform package aimed at tackling corruption and improving services.

Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets on Friday.

In the capital’s Tahrir Square, protesters chanted, “Baghdad will no longer be silent.”

Demonstrations have been held on a weekly basis since July over power outages in the scorching summer heat.

Chronic power cuts amid the searing summer heat prompted the latest round of protests. The cuts date back to 2003, when the US invaded the country.

On September 9, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi removed 123 high-ranking officials as part of his “comprehensive plan” to combat corruption in the war-hit country.

“In a bid to implement the package of reforms and to take measures to increase the efficiency of performance in state institutions, the premier removed 123 deputy ministers and director generals”, his office said in a statement.

However, the protesters on Friday said the reforms were inadequate.

Haider Al Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq, addresses the United Nations General Assembely on September 30, 2015 in New York City. (AFP)
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi addresses the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 30, 2015. (AFP)​


The demonstrators also called for the government to take a tougher stance regarding the issue of corruption in the judiciary.

Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr also joined the protesters.

Bashir al-Saadi, one of the supporters, said, “Our participation in the protests continues because the scope of Haider al-Abadi’s reforms is limited.”

The demonstrations on Friday were held under heavy police presence. Similar protest were reported in the main southern hub of Basra, the holy city of Karbala and the city of Nasiriyah.

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