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Iraqi Communist Party calls for new government as violence continues

IRAQ’S Communist Party called at the weekend for an emergency government to take office as protests continued across the country.

Police and security services continued to fire on demonstrators, with the death toll approaching 100 by today. Eyewitnesses told of snipers on buildings shooting into the crowds.

Protesters enraged by government corruption and mass unemployment have taken to the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

One unemployed graduate told journalists that Iraqi politicians had done nothing but “steal, steal, from 2003 [when the United States and Britain invaded the country] until now.”

Shi’ite politician Moqtadr al-Sadr, who leads the Sairoon Alliance of his own Islamist Sadrist Integrity Party, the Communist Party and some smaller groups, called for new elections.

The Communist Party said a new government needed to act swiftly to protect protesters from state violence, declare the fallen to be “martyrs of the people,” bring people accused of corruption to justice and tackle the economic grievances at the root of the unrest.

Addressing the grievances would entail “a major campaign to build decent houses and distribute them to the poor,” a new council to vet public-sector appointments to address nepotism and monthly payments to the poor and unemployed.

The party also called for top politicians’ salaries to be reduced and privileges and special allowances to be abolished.

To force the establishment of a government with such a programme, “the pace and momentum of the protest movement must be increased, along with a commitment to maintain its peacefulness,” the communists said.

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