Saturday, February 27, 2021

After 6 More Protesters Killed PM Kazemi Seeks To Control Explosive Situation In Dhi Qar

(Shfaaq News)
Things continued to escalate in Dhi Qar. On February 22 the police fired into a group of protesters in the provincial capital of Nasiriya killing two. A third person died on February 25 when the police were trying to clear the Al-Nasr Bridge in the city. The next day people returned to the streets where a day of clashes left six more fatalities. A member of the Iraq Human Rights Commission said the situation was out of control and the government was doing nothing. This all occurred despite Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi ordering months ago that the security forces could no longer use live ammunition against demonstrations. Kazemi came into office saying he stood with the protesters but he has changed his position since then to wanting them to stop their actions.

 

The week’s events forced Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi to finally take action. Governor Nazim al-Waeli resigned over the deaths and the PM named Abdul Ghani al-Asadi the head of the National Security Agency to be interim governor. The protesters immediately rejected his appointment. Kazemi’s move is likely meant to get control of Nasiriya and put an end to the protests. The premier did this before in December. After the Sadrists attacked the sit-in square in the city in November 2020 killing eight, the PM shut down the demonstrations and then launched a series of raids and arrests against activists. That only worked temporarily as the crowds eventually returned to the city a few weeks later. Assigning an intelligence chief to be governor could mean more resources are going to be devoted to a new crackdown. The question is how quickly this can go into effect because there are already sympathy protests in other cities across the south.

 

SOURCES

 

NINA, “Angry Protesters Set Fire To Part Of Dhi Qar Governorate Building In Nasiriyah,” 2/26/21

 

Ali, Sura, “Dhi Qar governor resigns as protester death toll climbs in Nasiriyah,” 2/26/21

 

Al Nasiriya, “A statement by Al-Haboubi protesters reject the appointment of Al-Asadi as governor, even “for one hour,”” 2/26/21

 

Shafaaq News, “The death toll from Nasiriya protests rose to 6,” 2/26/21

- “Human Rights announces 276 victims and injured in the events of Nasiriya: the situation is out of control,” 2/26/21

 

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