Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 27, 2011 Protest In Iraq’s Tahrir Square, Baghdad

Between 250-500 Iraqis gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square for another day of protest on May 27, 2011. The event was called “False Promise Friday” or “Friday of Decision.”

The activists had to walk through a series of checkpoints leading to the square where they were searched, and had recording and camera equipment taken by the security forces. The square is right across from the Green Zone, which is accessible through a bridge. That was completely blocked off by police, as has happened previously.

There were a myriad of issues expressed by participants. Some called for better services and jobs, which have been a mainstay of protests since they started back in January. Others demanded the release of family members who had been detained by the government. A few condemned Kuwait’s plans to build a major port in the Persian Gulf that could conflict with Iraq’s Basra ports, while more were mocking Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s pledge to improve the work of the country’s ministries within 100 days. One protester told the press that the government had lost its legitimacy because it had failed to follow through with its promises. There were also reports that chants could be heard calling for U.S. forces to withdraw from the country by the end of the year. This eclectic set of demands has been heard in previous protests as well

A small group of people broke away from Tahrir Square, and marched to the Baghdad provincial council building. There they staged a brief sit-in.

On a more disturbing note, four organizers of the day’s activists were detained. They were at first, taken by soldiers from the 11th Division, then passed to another unit, before being placed into an ambulance, and driven off to an unknown location. They were all students from the Academy of Fine Arts and the Institute of Arts in the capital, and had been leading demonstrations since February. It was said that they were planning a major event on June 7 to mark the end of Maliki’s 100 day deadline for the ministries. The fact that they were taken away by an ambulance instead of a regular military or police vehicle could bode ill for their fate. The government has tightened their grip on demonstrators as of late, and there are numerous stories of abuse and torture being used against them.

Man holding picture of his son who is detained by the government, while Iraqi police stand behind him blocking bridge to the Green Zone (AP)
Iraqi forces blocking bridge from Tahrir Square to the Green Zone (AP)
Police walk through crowd of demonstrators (Alsumaria)
Crowds in Tahrir Square (Great Iraqi Revolution)
Protester wrapped in Iraqi flag (Great Iraqi Revolution)
Women chanting and holding signs at the May 27 demonstration (Great Iraqi Revolution)
Chanting in Tahrir Square (Great Iraq Revolution)
(Great Iraqi Revolution)
(Great Iraqi Revolution)
(Great Iraqi Revolution)
(Great Iraqi Revolution)
While protests have been held every Friday in Baghdad for the last five months, large numbers of people have not been seen in the streets for quite some time. That was largely because of the carrot and stick approach used by Premier Maliki to coo and woo them. The arrest of the four organizers was just the latest example of this policy. Next month could see more Iraqis show up as the Prime Minister’s deadline will have expired, and few expect any major changes to be accomplished.


Alsumaria, “Demonstration in central Baghdad demanding release of prisoners and denouncing the port of Mubarak and the arrest of four of the organizers,” 5/27/11

Associated Press, “Protesters chant anti-Iraqi government slogans,” 5/27/11

Aswat al-Iraq, “Four Demonstrations Activists Arrested Today,” 5/27/11
- “Sit-in Before Baghdad Provincial Council,” 5/27/11


Carl said...

It is a truism that any good changes come about because of brave souls such as these that are protesting the US control of Iraq's oil.

Given the history of torture and killing of the protesters throughout the Middle East by US puppets, these four protest organizers must not be forgotten. Their names and pictures should be spread throughout the world to demand their release.

Nonviolent protests are having an impact on the 800 US military bases, (not including bases within the US), throughout the world. A day will come when this dangerous and international empire will crumble, just like all previous empires.

Truth and the love of humanity will overcome this death delivering empire, but only if brave souls continue the demands for peace and justice for all.

Iraq will not be a sovereign nation until all foreign troops leave Iraq. This applies to the hired civilian contractors like Blackwater that operate as hired guns for the US State Department and the Pentagon.

Love will overcome hate and the truth will overcome the lies that are necessary to continue with these neo-colonial wars.

Joel Wing said...

Carl does that mean you don't want diplomatic relations between Iraq and the U.S.? Every American embassy around the world is guarded by U.S. marines. The State Dept. also wants four branch offices in Iraq. Those need guards as well, plus to get around. If the U.S. military withdraws they will not have enough soldiers/marines to protect them, so the plan is to hire private security firms, or keep more soldiers in Iraq. The country is not a safe place for Americans, especially right now because both insurgents and Special Groups are ramping up attacks in anticipation of the withdrawal at the end of the year. There are also American companies operating in Iraq. They have private security as well just like all the other big foreign companies in Iraq. Do you want all civilian, military, and private companies from the U.S. to get out of Iraq? That's the only way there will be no troops or American private security firms in the country. In fact, some of the foreign companies in Iraq might be using U.S. security firms as well. the Iraqi government desperately wants American and other foreign companies to invest in Iraq becuase it is so far behind economically after 20 years of wars and sanctions.

My point is the ideological stance of wanting a complete and total U.S. withdrawal requires some practical thinking.

Carl said...

Yes, I believe that all US troops and US guns for hire should leave Iraq.

The only exception is the traditional Marine force that protects the diplomats at the embassies world wide.

I believe that not only should the US troops leave Iraq, they should be reassigned back within the borders of the USA.

Currently, the US does not act in good faith for the benefit of the international community of nations.

Take the war on Libya for instance. A UN resolution called for a no fly zone, yet the US through NATO has embarked upon regime change.

The double standards and the double dealing of the US, the recent and historic multi national oil and resource companies and the American banking industry that has brought about a global financial and humanitarian disaster is nothing less than criminal.

George W. Bush and now Obama in the White House are guilty of crimes against humanity. How can any nation trust US presidents that disobey the Nuremberg Principles and the International Law of War?

It is time for the US military and state department to fold their tents and go home to the US. There is noting but anger and hatred for a US foreign policy that is responsible for the mass murder of at least one million Iraqi citizens.

Iraq and Libya are just the latest examples of an American foreign policy that has nothing to do with the installation of freedom and democracy.

There was a democratically elected leader of Iran decades ago, yet the CIA overthrew that government and installed a royal dictator.

Check your history books sir... over and over the USA has overthrown democratically elected governments and installed dictator puppets that obey Uncle Sam's wishes that results in the impoverishment of the people of those nations.

The last time the USA had a moral compass was during WW2. Since that time it has become a loose cannon on the world stage.

Every empire will fail for all the same reasons. In the end, the financial cost to maintain such an overextended military and diplomatic presence destroys the social fabric of the imperial nation. That is happening now in the US.

The US has accrued the largest debt of any nation worldwide. There are more people in jail in the US per capita than any nation on earth. US civil society is suffering.

When a nation refuses to obey the international rules of law, than the public of that nation refuse to obey the domestic rules of law. Anarchy is the result.

My hope is that this century will see the end of any national empires.

Let us focus our attention upon cooperative relationships with all nations and all people to help build solutions to global warming and the fact that every 9 seconds a child will die of starvation.

By now you will probably understand that I am opposed to the competitive mind set that focuses upon dominance and control. Let us foster a love for humanity and the natural world that allow us to finally reach the next stage of human evolution.. Respect for all of life on our beautiful planet.

If we can focus our attention upon science that heals rather than the work of ever more sophisticated machines that kill, our great grandchildren may yet inherit a vibrant and healthy world.

So, to answer your question Joel, I hope that embassies are located globally by all nations. Diplomacy is of course necessary and if the goals of world wide diplomacy is to help build a better world without war, than who could argue with that?

As for the oil companies that are pumping the oil out of Iraq, I believe that the Iraqi people would do much better to control the flow of oil themselves.

Please read "The Secrets of the American Empire". From this book by John Perkins, you might better understand what I am discussing here. Earlier he wrote "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". Perkins was an insider who knows of what he writes.

I have no crystal ball to see the future, all I can hope for is that the world becomes a safer and kinder place to raise our children.