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Anti-government protests in Iraq likely to flare after Friday prayers


Anti-government protests in Iraq likely to flare after Friday prayers

iraq protests
Photo: Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters

Anti-government protests are expected nationwide in Iraq today after the conclusion of Friday prayers.

Last week, violent protests rocked the streets of Baghdad and a half-dozen southern provinces. Protesters met Iraqi security forces with rocks, leaving at least 34 dead and hundreds more reportedly wounded.

Public demonstrations against corruption and unemployment—the first wave of major discontent since the current government came to power over a year ago—have left a total of at least 110 killed and more than 6,000 injured.

The government has only just begun to address grievances across the country, re-proposing recycled reforms after protests in 2015—namely, broad measures to reduce unemployment and improve decrepit infrastructure. The government has also called for talks with opposition leaders and regional governors.

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There is little chance that reintroducing legislation that has already failed to adequately address the concerns of protesters, along with engaging in more circular political discussions, will appease demonstrators. A lack of defined leadership to the protests—which presently do not have a clear list of demands—will only further befuddle negotiations and increase the likelihood that violence will persist in the coming months.

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