Protests that were scheduled to take place on 25 October have been launched in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad following a break during Arbaeen.
As was scheduled from before, protests have broken out in the capital Baghdad and across the country today (Friday, 25th October), following an interval since the previous protests that started on 1st October that led to the deaths of 149 individuals and the injuries of thousands of people. Demonstrators have already approached the Green Zone, where most governmental and international institutions and organisations are based, to voice their grievances once again to the Iraqi Government. Clashes have been reported between the demonstrators and the security forces stationed there.
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior, in anticipation of the Friday protests, imposed a state of emergency on the security forces, calling on them to deal with demonstrators in a responsible manner and in accordance with the principles of human rights. There will be a strong focus on the treatment of protesters by the security forces following the violence that led to deaths during the protests earlier this month. A fact-finding investigation was launched to find those responsible for the deaths and to hold them account, however these steps have not appeased the grievances expressed by those who lost their loved ones as a result of the violence.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, made a televised speech on Thursday in which he confirmed the demonstrators’ right to protest as long as they do not “disturb public life”. He had also previously announced a series of reforms involving ministerial amendments and economic changes. He also sacked 61 Iraqi officials following the violence of the initial protests. The security forces have been specifically ordered to avoid resorting to violence this time round.
The trajectory of the renewed protests is not yet clear as they remain by and large leaderless, although efforts are being made by cleric and leader of the Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, to urge on the demonstrators.