Monday, July 27, 2020

National Protests Start In Iraq During The Weekend UPDATED

Burning tires to block highway in Muthanna (Al Mirbad)

Protests which began on a consistent basis the second week of July escalated over the weekend. On Saturday July 25 there were gatherings in six southern provinces tied for the most this summer. The next day people came out in seven governates including Baghdad where the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) fired at demonstrators killing two despite a promise by the prime minister to protect them from such violence.

July 25 saw demonstrations in Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala and Najaf. Activists organized over the lack of electricity. That has been the main impetus for protests over the last decade in Iraq. Demand continues to outstrip supply and the national grid is so poor it only delivers 25% of its capacity, which could provide power to everyone if it was run properly. Saturday matched the previous high of protests in six provinces on July 12 in Babil, Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Muthanna and Wasit.

The next day there were protests in seven more governorates resulting in a deadly clash in Baghdad. Again, power shortages led to the events in Baghdad, Basra, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Najaf, and Wasit. In the capital the ISF fired at the crowd reportedly killing two and wounding several with tear gas canisters.. This was in direct violation of orders from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi that the security forces would protect demonstrators. In Diwaniya it was contract workers demanding that the government convert them to full time employees that brought people out. Besides electricity, Baghdad not paying contract workers and their demand that they be given full time jobs has been a main motivation for demos this year. 

The government is incapable of meeting the demands of this year’s demonstrations just like in previous ones. The electricity network needs billions more, but as stated before is completely inefficient and therefore may never meet demand. More importantly, the ruling elite do not feel any obligations towards the public because they control the state’s resources most importantly oil. This has been true since the founding of the country. It also contradicts the basis of a democratic system where the government is supposed to serve the people. 


AIN, “Demonstrators set fire to tires to protest against the deterioration of electricity in Basra,” 7/12/20

Bas News, “PICTURES | Protesters Take Back to Streets in Southern Iraq,” 7/26/20

Al Forat, “Dismissal of officials at Al-Muthanna Electricity after angry demonstrations,” 7/26/20

Gebeily, Maya, “#BREAKING: Two #Baghdad protesters dead after overnight clashes with police, medics tell @AFP,” Twitter, 7/27/20
- “#IRAQ: What we know so far:,” Twitter, 7/27/20

Haboush, Joseph and Naar, Ismaeel, “Iraqi protesters gather in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square over electricity cuts,” Al Arabiya, 7/26/20

Al Mada, “Demonstrations in central and southern Iraq to protest against the blackout,” 7/26/20
- “North of Basra demonstration to demand improvement of electricity,” 7/25/20
- “Renewed protest in Diwaniya over the deterioration of electricity,” 7/25/20
- “The youth minister arrives at the Najaf sit-in square to listen to their demands regarding sports,” 7/25/20

Al Mirbad, “Another demonstration in Wasit calls for improved electricity supply,” 7/12/20
- “Burning tires in the middle of Samawa to protest the deterioration of electricity supply,” 7/26/20
- “The contractors at Al-Muthanna Electricity Distribution Center are demanding to install and pay their salaries,” 7/12/20
- “Demonstrators block the Kut-Baghdad road to demand better electricity supply,” 7/12/20
- "A demonstration in Baghdad Street in Basra to protest against the decline in electricity," 7/26/20
- “Free workers in Diwaniya education department storm the Governorate Court building to demand that their contracts be converted,” 7/26/20
- “National and Kufa streets were cut in Najaf to protest against the deterioration of electricity,” 7/26/20
- “Protesters close the governor’s house in Wasit district of the neighborhood to protest against the decline in services,” 7/26/20
- “Protesters storm the Diwaniya Electricity Distribution Company branch and demand the dismissal of its manager,” 7/12/20
- “The salaried employees and contractors in Nasiriya Electricity Directorate cut the road towards Muthanna,” 7/12/20
- “The wage earners are among the 30,000 job opportunities in Al-Zubayr demanding their salaries be paid,” 7/12/20

Al Nasiriya, “Eyewitnesses: Protesters storm the external gate of the Nasiriya Thermal Power Station,” 7/26/20
- “In pictures: Protesters in Al-Gharraf district protest against malfunctions,” 7/26/20
- “Pictures: Demonstrations renewed in Al-Islah district to demand services and increase electricity supply,” 7/26/20

NINA, “Al-Kadhimi orders to emphasize respect for human rights and prevent shootings at protesters,” 5/10/20

Rovera, Donatella, “”We have one dead and several wounded. Don’t’ die! As soon as we find a way we’ll take you to hospital” from one of the first-aid tents near #Tahrir Sq in #IraqProtests - #Baghdad #Iraq -,” Twitter, 7/26/20

Rudaw, “Protesters burn tires in front of the electricity distribution department in #Babil in Hilla, and gives its manager 48 hours to improve the electricity supply,” Twitter, 7/12/20

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