Protests in Iraq surge amid calls for new elections

Iraq’s parliament will hold an emergency session today. Following two months of anti-establishment protests, Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi announced

Iraq2

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Iraq’s parliament will hold an emergency session today.

Following two months of anti-establishment protests, Prime Minister Abdel Abdul Mahdi announced his resignation on Friday. However, rather than quelling the demonstrations, many protesters take Mahdi’s concession as a sign that their pressure will lead to the overthrow of the political system.

The government’s violent crackdown is also not deterring protests. On Thursday, 45 demonstrators in Nasiriyah joined the protest death toll, which is now at more than 400.

Even the protesters themselves have resorted to violence. Seeing Iran as the backbone of the Iraqi government, demonstrators set the Iranian consulate ablaze on Wednesday and maintained a stand-off with security forces along the Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinar bridges in central Baghdad.

With the government showing signs that it is unable to control the hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets, expect violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces to increase. As pressure mounts, expect calls for new elections to gain a foothold in the near future.

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