Tens of thousands demonstrate across Iraq

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Tens of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated Friday (February 8th) in several cities across the country to demand administrative and legal reforms and the provision of services.

Demonstrators also condemned recent terrorist attacks in Kirkuk, Baghdad and al-Taji.

Ghanem al-Abd, spokesman for demonstrators in Mosul, called on the government to protect citizens from such attacks.

"Our demands do not call for the cancellation of the anti-terrorism law; it is the lifeline of Iraq's future and with it we will get rid of terrorism," said Fallujah Friday preacher Sheikh Khaled Hamoud. "However, the defect lies in its implementation."

"We want this law to be well-organised and well-used," he said.

Hamoud called on Iraqis to hold leaders responsible for security breaches in Iraqi cities and to hold the ministers and service officials who failed to improve the country's infrastructure accountable.

Human Rights Minister Mohammed al-Sudani, a member of the ministerial committee tasked with addressing demonstrator demands, said the committee is proceeding with its work.

"There is major progress in many of the files related to demonstrator demands," he said.

This includes speed in resolving the cases of prison detainees, the cancellation of liens imposed on properties owned by former Baath Party members not wanted by the judiciary, a decision to reinstate hundreds of people to their jobs and a repeal of the secret informant law, he said.

Investigations were also opened into incidents in which officers, soldiers and security elements are suspected of abusing human rights, al-Sudani said.

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    سيد مهند

    2013-2-24

    I don’t reckon that the Iraqis are at fault at all by taking to the streets in order to voice their anger since this is their country. Therefore, the government must understand that people have the right to demonstrate in the event that there is a shortcoming on the part of the government, and that is actually the case in all Arab countries. When Iraqis feel that they don’t get their full rights and when there is a severe shortage in the services that are provided to them, then the government must heed their demands and pay attention to them. These people didn’t come out to demonstrate with the intention to spread chaos, but they have sound reasons that compelled them to come out and express themselves. Hence, the government must find solutions and go about things in a manner that serves the best interests of the citizens. People feel that the services they get and the rights that they have are almost equal to nothing since not only the services are not adequate and people lack decent living conditions, but the government is also feeble when it comes to combating terrorism. For this reason, the Iraqi people have really lost hope to a large degree, and that is why they are taking to the streets and demanding the government to improve its performance. Otherwise, the government should step down since legitimacy is the basis of governance and whoever does not comprehend that must think wisely. Now that people have furiously demonstrated in 10 major cities like these and now that they have been doing so for weeks, the Iraqi government must then carefully consider this warning. The government must also take precautions and be wary that the Iraqi people could explode due to the enormous oppression and exhaustion that they have endured. I don’t know whether the arrest of these large numbers of people was due to the demonstrations. But if that is the case, then the Iraqi people will become further furious and things could escalate in the coming Fridays, although that is an undesirable matter since terrorists could join the crowds.

  • الشرفاء

    2013-2-21

    I would like to say to any Baathist Saddami Iraqi citizen who has been betrayed by his leader and boss (the hero of the hole) and his Baathist comrades in the day of crawling, escape and major defeat that their leader Mr. al-Maliki (may Allah protect him) is calling on you to take part actively in the reconstruction of Iraq and the future of its honorable sons. If you do not accept his sincere demands, you should go to the ballot boxes as he has asked you to hold early elections. Indeed, I hope that you will succeed in them thanks to the honorable efforts, the father of liberation, the father of the youth and noble women comrades.

  • سعد المالكي

    2013-2-21

    Al-Maliki is a hero and responsible for all the blessings of Iraq. All of us are with him and the number of his supporters in Baghdad exceeds that in Anbar. In addition, all the southern and central provinces nominate Mr. al-Maliki. Yet, all those who are against him are remnants of the ousted Baath party, terrorists and traitors. Al-Maliki is the Lion of Iraq.

  • سنان جاسم

    2013-2-21

    Apparently, the Police and the Ministry of justice respond to the demands of the people of Iraq. I do not see that the demonstrations played any role in the release of those detainees. I appeal to all the youth and organizers of these demonstrations to deliberate and pacify the situation because the endless demands would embarrass the government and affect its economic performance. Hence, we should not consider that each Friday is a day for the demonstrations in all squares in Iraq in this way. We want to appear honorably in front of the other states as long as we trust our governments. I am totally confident that the Iraqi government can implement its promises, God willing.

  • sader

    2013-2-21

    The Iraqi citizens are suffering from a real crisis. The situation there needs a real stance to be taken correctly and wisely. The citizens need their affairs to be handled urgently to fix their living conditions and the conditions of Iraq. Of course, this is impossible without getting rid of the terrorist operations that take place everywhere in Iraq and at any time. The Iraqis are suffering from much injustice and everyone remains silent in the face of these terrorist crimes that are taking place in all the provinces of Iraq. All the concerned parties suffice with watching these crimes and counting the victims without having any awareness of the level of deterioration of the crisis in Iraq. Let me be optimistic regarding the presence of Iraqi people who are fully aware of what they need and their political objectives. Hence, we call for taking a strong stance in Iraq with the aim of getting rid of all the terrorist operations in Iraq. The Iraqis will have no chance before them other than joining the demonstrations that are being organized everywhere in Iraq and whose number is increasing every day. They all must try to get rid of the psychological pressures and burdens that face them, maybe those demonstrations will be successful. Holding demonstrations is a constitutional right for all the citizens of Iraq as long as they remain within the acceptable limits and take place at known dates and raise demands they are entitled to have. Hence, I wish that these demonstrations will succeed in Iraq and we hope that Iraq would enjoy security and tranquility away from the terrorist crimes that threaten its security and future. We only want Iraq to be a real home to all Iraqis.

  • سليم داود

    2013-2-21

    No Iraqi can see his country collapsing in front of his eyes and refrains from going out to express his anger. This homeland will not be a home without people and the government taking care of the affairs of the peoples. Hence, the Iraqi government is required to do what is necessary and what is required by the Iraqi people. Hence, if the Iraqi people saw that there is neglect in the human services, then we must understand this, because the Iraqis have been deprived of any human services for a long period. I think that the Iraqis suffered enough due to the shelling and the bombings of the terrorists. Day after day and no progress is achieved as to the elimination of the terrorists. Quite the contrary, we see more deterioration and more victims fall every day. Terrorism kills the Iraqis so painfully and destroys the infrastructure and the services in Iraq. We wish to have more progress and services and if the state could not meet these demands, then let it speak honestly with the people and tell them about its real abilities in the meantime to have some integrity and transparency. However, making empty promises without any real achievement will create a serious gap between the people, the police, and the government. When this happens, we should expect to see these demonstrations and protests. Hence, the Iraqi government must speak honestly with the people and explain everything to the citizens even if the truth was harsh and pessimistic. However, this would create credibility and create partnership between the people and the government due to awareness of the current situation. After that, the people have the right to accept the measures of the government to handle the situation or just wait for the next elections, which will bring another government, or even demonstrate to force the government to resign and allow the people to get better options.

  • علاء الحق

    2013-2-21

    The oil of Iraq is controlled by agent opportunist thieves. Iraqi politicians and Al-Maliki and his party in particular have destroyed Iraq and robbed billions from the poor, the needy and widows. In addition, Iraqis have been torn by booby-trappings and IEDs while they are immune in palaces. Al-Maliki and his party represent no one but themselves and their parties. Therefore, I call on the honorable people of Iraq to rise up and ask for their rights since Iraqis are more honorable than their politicians.

  • سرمد احمد

    2013-2-21

    The issue is not about terrorism that has no religion. It is about terrorism that has its own religion and this religion is known. These people are known for their calls and what they resort to, use, make, wear and shoot. All of them are similar. Therefore, I call on people to ask Allah to keep Satan away from them, love each other and leave the issues of human beings for their Creator and they will not be blamed for that.

  • karrar

    2013-2-21

    This is the logic of those who seek sedition. Do you want the supporters of al-Maliki, who are afraid of chaos and sectarianism, to come down to the streets and confront you? What madness! Are are not tired of murder and sabotage yet? I do not always agree with al-Maliki, but your actions increase his popularity. The people are supporting him.

  • احمد كتاب

    2013-2-15

    It is really not fair that Iraqis are enduring bloodshed. Even though Saddam was a dictator who killed and imprisoned his people and waged an 8-year war against Iran that killed 2 million people from both sides, but what have Iraqis gained after his ouster? Iraqis have really only become more humiliated, humbled, impoverished, hypocritical and corrupt under al-Maliki’s rule. This is attested to by international organizations. Today, Iraqis are not only subservient to the Americans – who control them by virtue of vague contracts and agreements – but Iran has also dominated them by giving instructions to their Shiite leaders. The Iraqis have even reached a point where Iran has appointed an Iranian supreme religious cleric to serve in Iraq. Iraq had really been in prosperity and dignity during the time of Saddam, and it has now become disgraced under the rule of Maliki’s Shiites.

  • حسنين المالكي

    2013-2-15

    The government of Mr. Al-Maliki is wonderful and just. May God bless you, do you believe that a criminal follower of the Baath and supporter of Saddam would be a Mujaahid? This is illogical. You must thank God because Al-Maliki is your ruler. I congratulate the honorable Iraqis inside and outside Iraq on the rule of Al-Maliki’s 2745th day in the authority. No solace to the criminal and hateful Baathists.

  • rahaf

    2013-2-15

    Human rights are two words that I always hear but I don’t know their meaning since the current situation in Iraq does not call for knowing their meaning at all. This is because it is next to impossible to establish human rights inside Iraq since Iraq is no longer capable of that. Human rights have been completely violated and encroached in Iraq. It's a foregone conclusion and the bloodshed of Iraqi people will be perpetual.

  • فهد المحمود

    2013-2-14

    These politicians don’t care about the demands of people nor do they care about their dreams. This is because if they were really truthful and genuine, they would not have approved laws that they now want to be abolished. Hence, people are better off if they could demonstrate, hold these officials accountable and ask them questions in order to reveal the harsh truth that they are concealing behind their tragic plays in Iraq. They are also concealing the truth by deceiving guileless individuals and by playing the sectarian card, most prominently by purporting they are helping the Sunni Iraqis. However, they are the ones who are urging the Sunnis to step into the unknown.

  • حاتم العراقي

    2013-2-14

    May God greet you all dear Iraqi brothers everywhere in Najaf, Anbar, Basra, and all the dear Iraqi governorates. You have proved that you are great people and that you are away from the sectarianism that they want to use to destroy us. We will get rid of this government, God willing, with its parties, whether the parties that claim that they represent the Sunnis or those claim that they represent the Shia. We want to use our minds like the majority of the Iraqis for the sake of the joint living and in order to change the imported electoral law and adopt a new law that would fix things and enable the Iraqi experienced people irrespective of their origins or sects to lead Iraq and restore its deserved status.

  • shoma

    2013-2-14

    The demonstrations represent a revolution against the economic, social, cultural, and political oppression of the people. I do not know whether there is development in the income of the indidvuals in southern Iraq, but I am sure that the general situation is pathetic. The people who suffered from the mass graves became bridges for the sectarian governments that implement the foreign agendas. As for the people, their interests are suspended.

  • مهند ميمي

    2013-2-14

    Al-Maliki believes that he can play the role of Saddam Hussein.

  • تماضر النجيفي

    2013-2-14

    There are demonstrations in western Iraq against Al-Maliki and other demonstrations in southern Iraq that support him. Some Iraqi Shiite cities with Shiite majority witnessed demonstrations rejecting the demands made by the protests of the opposition to the policies of the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, especially the demands of the abolition of the anti-terrorism law and the rejection of foreign intervention. Several cities in Anbar and the Sunni Salahuddin Governorate have witnessed a rally against the government of Al-Maliki, called “Friday of Insistence”.

  • منتظر الساعدي

    2013-2-14

    Everyday, we see in Iraq many gatherings and demonstrations that are staged in all the Iraqi governorates to demand legitimate rights. The Iraqis only want stability and security. I do not trust these demonstrations because the right to peaceful demonstration is one of the real demands of the Iraqis, but this should be according to the interests of the country. Hence, we cannot deny that the peaceful demonstrations are welcomed by all Iraqis, but the situation in Iraq contradicts the expectations of these peaceful demonstrations. Everyday in Iraq, there are new Iraqi victims because of the terrorist crimes that are committed by Al-Qaeda and its members who do their best to kill as many Iraqis as possible. We ask God to have mercy upon all the Iraqis who died or were martyred because of the terrorist crimes in Iraq. There is no reason for killing the Iraqis other than the desire to control the Iraqi people. We have to get rid of those terrorists because they are responsible for all crimes that make the Iraqis participate in the demonstrations, which is the last resort to get rid of the current conditions. This can lead us to the solution, but it also may lead us to nothing.

  • علياء خالد

    2013-2-14

    Iraq is to all Iraqis. Please, do not foment the sectarian strife. I am Shiite and my brother is Sunni and we will remain brothers despite all the hateful and spiteful people. What is the source of all these disasters?

  • هدير العيثاوي

    2013-2-14

    We the Sunnis in Iraq need separation and we want to form our independent state in northern Iraq. We want to set borders with the southern Iraq as the case with southern Sudan, as this is better for all of us.

  • حسين جنية

    2013-2-14

    There is no need for these demonstrations in the Iraqi governorates because we all know that the demonstrations may turn into funerals. The Iraqis have demands and they just want to see Iraq independent and free from terrorism and the victims of the terrorist acts. The Iraqis need to get rid of the elements of Al-Qaeda, but what is the point of these demonstrations? I see that nothing is new in Iraq, because the government does not respond to the demands of the people at all, despite the fact that they are ordinary demands. However, it is clear that Iraq needs deliberation until we reach the final solution.

  • تحسين الخفاجي

    2013-2-14

    I am an Arab, Iraqi Shiite and I believe in what our people in the Sunni governorates are doing and I also understand the suffering of the Arab Shia. Al-Maliki and Iran have seized the riches of Iraq and they will never refrain from killing the Arab Iraqis as long as this allows them to seize and control the country.

  • كريم العراقي

    2013-2-14

    . On Friday, the Iraqi city of Najaf, with its Shiite majority, joined the protests against the Government of Nouri al-Maliki for the first time. The city has seen massive demonstrations after Friday prayers. A tribal leader in Najaf governorate said that the people of Najaf have staged a large demonstration against the Government of Nouri al-Maliki that included more than 700 thousand people

  • امين زرزور

    2013-2-14

    All the different Iraqi governorates witnessed huge demonstrations because the Iraqi citizens have many demands and they want the officials to respond to them. However, the opposite is happening and this is the cause of the current troubles in Iraq. The Iraqis participate in demonstrations and protests but nothing changes and terrorism will continue targeting everything. Al-Qaeda and its members will never change, and the Iraqis will never change either. The Iraqis do not take to the streets until they become too bored to endure. Nevertheless, the demonstrations are unfortunately useless in many cases. We also must be careful because many parties want to make them commit mistakes in order to exploit such mistakes to destroy the Iraqi people. These demonstrations might be targeted by the elements of Qaeda and kill them unawares. We all know that there are many filthy conspiracies that destroy the Iraqi people. The secret elements of Al-Qaeda may exploit the demonstrations to carry out any suicide attack that would kill the demonstrators and end their cause forever. Hence, I wonder whether this is possible or not? It is expected that the elements of Al-Qaeda can commit any crime whatsoever. Hence, I appeal to the Iraqi officials to respond to the demands of the Iraqi demonstrators not to gather again. We do not want more losses in Iraq. We want security and tranquility to reign on the Iraq lands.

  • omar

    2013-2-11

    There were thousands of demonstrators who were preparing themselves to engage in bloody confrontations with terrorists, and that was due to provocations from terrorists. However, religious leaders have thankfully thwarted potential massacres. The demonstrators were all carrying martyrdom flags, but I support the religious leaders and scholars who are members of the Scholars Council. This is because I believe in God's instructions and those of the prophet that prohibit endangering ourselves. Although we know that the demonstrators possess enough courage, yet they are not skilled fighters and they lack the training needed to engage in combat operations. Therefore, whoever desires to fight against the terrorists must join the Sahwa groups, and there he will find training and preparation. But if things are done chaotically in Iraq and if everyone decides to bear arms, it will be a complete mess and hullabaloo. The security forces will also have had time trying to contain the situation and things will become higgledy-piggledy. If that happens, it will no different than a civil war, and I believe that would not be in the interest of Iraq. Therefore, credit goes to the religious leaders for coming up with this idea and for comprehending the situation. They didn't go too far in enthusiasm and fervor as they always utilize their minds and employ religious teachings. May God increase their knowledge and guide the Iraqis.

  • karem ali

    2013-2-11

    In order to show clemency to people, sensible individuals must make their voices heard at this point in time in order to prevent a real massacre. We are not interested in shedding the blood of terrorists but we are principally interested in preventing protestors and terrorists from bearing arms. The role of the Scholars Council is indeed a positive role and this is the right time for this role to emerge. This is because if the council fails to interfere at this point in time, it will be blamed profusely later on since there will definitely be some reckless people who would also respond to these vile individuals and bear arms. As a result, swordplay will ensue and dozens of victims will fall. There is no doubt that the police and the army are adamantly doing their job in order to protect Iraqis from the evils of terrorists. Therefore, why are the demonstrators endangering themselves and exposing themselves to these threats? The answer is that it is a question of dignity and self-respect. Hence, we appreciate the spirit of revolution that is borne by these demonstrators, yet they should also exercise good self-restraint so that we don’t get trapped by terrorists. Fallujah is like any other Iraqi city, and the overarching principle held by everyone is that demonstrators do not aim at engaging in a war. The demonstrations will remain peaceful until the end because we have principles and we are not keen on killing, destruction or devastation like the terrorists. The terrorists intend to provoke people in order to entice them into bloodshed and battling. This draws attention to the fact that they neither possess consciences nor do they adhere to any divine principles. I ask these people who are speaking on behalf of religion, why don't you prevent shedding the blood of Muslims? This filthy group does the most inconceivable things and it knows nothing but destruction. However, I believe that doing the right thing leads to the path of guidance and keeping the demonstrations peaceful is a right thing.