Iraqi youth joins the protest movement

From Baghdad to Basra, via Diwaniya, thousands of students gathered Monday in the streets of Iraq. Since the beginning of the protest, over 200 people have been killed and more than 8,000 injured.

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Iraqi security forces are trying to disperse the population with tear gas in Baghdad on Monday (October 28th). Hadi Mizban / AP

"No school until the fall of the regime" From Baghdad to Basra, through the streets of Diwaniyah or Nasiriyah, thousands of students and schoolchildren invaded the Iraqi streets on Monday, October 28, regardless of the authorities' warnings. Since the beginning of this unprecedentedst October, more than 200 people were killed and more than 8,000 injured.

The army threatened to "Severe penalties" officials and students who would not show up in class or at work. But on Monday, the teachers union announced "Four days of general strike". And in the streets, the Iraqis – who have come down to demand jobs for young people, who represent 60% of the population, and functional services to a state ravaged by corruption – are hardening their movement.

In several southern provinces, officials, unions, students and schoolchildren marched and started sit-ins. The mobilization is gaining momentum on the iconic Tahrir Square in Baghdad, which has been covered since Thursday with tents and stalls for food distribution and protection against tear gas grenades by the security forces.

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"No country, no school"

Students joined the movement on Sunday despite the riot police stationed near the universities and the appeal of the Minister of Higher Education, Qoussaï Al-Souheil, "Keep universities out of the way" some movement. "No country, no school", retorts a student. "We want the government to resign immediately, they resign or we release them"he says.

In Diwaniya, 200 kilometers south of Baghdad, professors and students decreed a ten-day sit-in to get the regime to fall. Most unions have joined the movement and pickets are blocking admissions. The crowd is telling "No school, no work, until the fall of the regime", but also "Iran, outside"while the big Shiite neighbor struggles with the United States – his sworn enemy and other active power in the country – to expand his influence.

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One in four unemployed youth

Thousands of students and students parade through Kout, Nassiriya, Hilla, Samawa and Basra (south). Everyone believes that the system introduced after the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 has run out of steam. In sixteen years, they say, the complex system of distribution of posts according to confessions and ethnic groups has only strengthened the clientelism of an unchanged political class, without leaving a horizon open to young people, including one in four is unemployed.

The protesters want a new Constitution, to replace the one voted in 2005 under American supervision, and that the "Big fish" of corruption are forced to make the money disappear since, twice the GDP of Iraq, rich in oil. "We want the dissolution of parliament, a transitional government, a new constitution and early elections under UN supervision", lists a protester in Baghdad.

Monday, Parliament was to meet at 11 o'clock, but so far, for lack of quorum, he has never managed to go to the end of his sessions.

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