Despite the curfews imposed by the Iraqi authorities on protests, demonstrators have continued to fill the streets of Baghdad and other cities in the sixth day of protests.
The protests taking place across Iraq have entered their sixth day today. Despite Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi’s promises that no force will be used against protesters, the security forces have used tear gas and live ammunition, which has led to the death of many protesters.
According to sources on the ground, paramedics have set up tents in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square in order to treat the citizens injured in the clashes. While the clashes have slowed down since the start of the protests, reports claim that protesters are attempting to cross the Jumhouria Bridge which leads to Baghdad’s Green Zone. While the riot police have pushed back against protester advance, the riot police were eventually forced to retreat to the second and third checkpoints set up along the bridge.
Furthermore, despite the curfew that has been imposed by the Baghdad Operations Command, protesters have remained determined to stay on the streets demanding their rights. While reports emerged that the authorities cut off the electricity in the areas where the demonstrators were gathered, Iraq’s Minister of Electricity, Luay al-Khateeb, posted on Twitter, explaining that the electricity cut was due to maintenance issues, which were quickly repaired.
Despite international calls for dialogue and reconciliation, key actors in the Iraqi Government have not yet agreed upon a plan to move forward. While the head of the Sa’iroun Coalition, Muqtada al-Sadr, called on the government of Adil Abd al-Mahdi to resign, it seems unlikely that the prime minister will submit to this request, especially as he still enjoys support from other large blocs in parliament.
As protesters continue throughout most of central and south Iraq demanding the government and corrupt officials step down, it seems like the protests will continue over the next few days. The volatility of the situation, however, requires that both security forces and protesters seek to calm the situation, to prevent an escalation in violence that may lead the country to an unwanted path.