In Iraq, the protest makes about 100 dead; the weakened prime minister

The demonstrators express a rejection of the entire political class in power and say they are determined to continue the movement "until the fall of the regime."

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Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi during his televised speech at 2 am Friday, while most Iraqis were sleeping.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi during his televised speech at 2 am Friday, while most Iraqis were sleeping. AFP PHOTO / HO / IRAQIYA TV

After four days of extremely violent, blood-stained protests in Baghdad and the southern Shiite cities of Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi is in the hot seat. While in the street, protesters say they are determined to continue the movement until "The fall of the regime", political pressures are piling up on the government. On the evening of Friday 4 October, Shiite pope leader Moqtada Al-Sadr, head of the first political force in Parliament, called for his resignation and the organization of early parliamentary elections. Former Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, who heads the third parliamentary bloc, joined the call.

Confronted with his first major social test, one year after the formation of his government, Adel Abdel Mahdi could not find the words to appease the protesters, mobilized against corruption, unemployment and decay of public services. It was at two o'clock in the morning on Friday, when most Iraqis were sleeping, that he addressed the nation in a televised speech. If he said he understood the frustration of the population and wanted to respond to "Legitimate requests" demonstrators, he pointed out that there was no "Magic solution" to the problems of the country.

And while the protest left at least 100 dead – including six policemen – and 4,000 wounded in the country in four days, according to an interim record of the Government Commission on Human Rights, he assured that the Iraqi forces were responding to protesters "According to international standards. " The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, has asked Iraq to investigate " fast " on the dead and "To allow people to exercise their rights to freedom of expression".

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Scenes of chaos and massive Internet shutdown in Iraq

"We've been hearing the same promises for over fifteen years"

At the end of Friday's prayer, while the curfew was being maintained and the Internet still shut down, protests resumed in Baghdad and the south of the country. Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, the country's highest Shiite authority, had just given his support to the protesters. In a highly anticipated speech, his representative, Ahmed Al-Safi, urged all parties to stop the violence and blame the political class for its failure to reform the country. He called on the government to "Improve public services, find jobs, avoid clientelism in the public service and end corruption files".


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