Iraqis protest in Baghdad to demand reforms
Hundreds of Iraqis have taken to the streets of the capital, Baghdad, reiterating their call for reforms as the country remains bogged down in political turmoil.
Protesters from several areas across Baghdad gathered at central Tahrir Square Baghdad on Friday, according to the Arabic-language al-Sumaria news website.
Security forces were attempting to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the square.
The number of the protesters was increasing with Iraqi media saying hundreds of residents of Baghdad’s district of Sadr City are flocking to the square.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi security forces reportedly used teargas to disperse the protesters.
The protests are challenging Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s call on the reform protesters in Baghdad to halt their weekly action as the Iraqi military and allies gear up for retaking the key city of Fallujah west of the country from militants.
The Iraqi premier further said the continued demonstrations in Baghdad and elsewhere would exert pressure on the Iraqi forces battling Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Abadi’s call was specifically aimed at followers of Muqtada Sadr, a respected cleric based in the city of Najaf, who has mobilized people in Baghdad and other cities against what he calls rampant corruption in Iraq.
A series of weekly demonstrations prompted Abadi to introduce a new cabinet earlier this month, but the move failed due to fierce opposition among political factions and triggered more violent protests in Baghdad. At least four people were killed in the clashes between police and protesters last week.