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Iraqi communists demand change as protests mark the anniversary of the uprising

THE Iraqi Communist Party reiterated calls for a peaceful mass movement for democratic change as demonstrations at the weekend marked the anniversary of last year’s uprising.

The demonstrations followed the Geneva International Centre for Justice’s (GICJ) warning last week that Iraqis “fear for their lives,” calling for the United Nations to press the Iraqi government to protect protesters.

“We know that these grave human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators will be repeated this Sunday,” it said in a statement calling for “concrete measures” to prevent violence.

“GICJ reaffirms its solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle to exercise their fundamental rights,” it said.

Protests took place despite warnings from the myriad of militia groups that control large swathes of the country, taking advantage of political instability.

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s “peace companies” were reported to have taken control of Tahrir Square in the capital Baghdad in a bid to deter Iraqis as they sought to protest against widespread poverty and called for political change and an end to the current system imposed following the US-led invasion and occupation.

Hundreds marched in Baghdad in defiance of the threat, chanting “Our blood, our souls, we sacrifice for you Iraq,” insisting that the renewed demonstrations were a continuation of last year’s uprising.

Some 600 people are believed to have been killed during the October 2019 protests as security forces mobilised in a bid to crush resistance.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mehdi was forced to resign in late November and new PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi was approved by the Iraqi parliament in June after months of political deadlock. 

He promised to meet the demands of the protesters in a transitional government, but progress has been slow.

An Iraqi CP spokesman told the Morning Star: A peaceful mass protest movement is essential to achieve the just demands of the uprising, defeat the sectarian quota power-sharing system and corruption, and bring about radical change by asserting the will of the people and move towards a democratic civil state based on citizenship and social justice.”

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