Thou­sands take part in Iraq protest

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Bagh­dad, Iraq - Thou­sands took to the streets in Iraq’s cap­i­tal and across the south on Sun­day to protest against Iran’s king­mak­ing in­flu­ence as the lat­est dead­line for choos­ing a new prime min­is­ter loomed.

Anti-gov­ern­ment ral­lies have rocked Bagh­dad and the Shi­itemajor­ity south since Oc­to­ber 1, with demon­stra­tors call­ing for a com­plete over­haul of a regime they deem cor­rupt, in­ef­fi­cient and overly be­holden to Tehran.

‘The rev­o­lu­tion con­tin­ues!’ shouted one demon­stra­tor at a protest en­camp­ment in cen­tral Diwaniyah. Pro­test­ers blocked off pub­lic build­ings one by one in the south­ern Iraqi city, and put up ban­ners read­ing ‘The coun­try is un­der con­struc­tion - please ex­cuse the dis­rup­tion’.

Sun­day marks the lat­est dead­line - al­ready pushed back twice by Pres­i­dent Barham Saleh - for par­lia­ment to choose a new pre­mier to re­place Adel Ab­del Mahdi, who ten­dered his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s res­ig­na­tion last month.

Par­lia­ment speaker Mo­hammed al Hal­bussi on Sun­day trav­elled to Ar­bil, cap­i­tal of the Kur­dish au­ton­o­mous re­gion in north­ern Iraq, to dis­cuss who could be­come the next prime min­is­ter, the pres­i­dency there said.

Of­fi­cials say Iran wants to in­stall Qusay al Suhail, who served as higher ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter in the gov­ern­ment of Ab­del Mahdi.

“This is ex­actly what we op­pose - Ira­nian con­trol over our coun­try,” said 24 year old stu­dent Houeida, in Bagh­dad’s Tahrir Square, the epi­cen­tre of the protests.

The demon­stra­tors re­ject Suhail’s can­di­dacy, along with any­one from the wider po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment that has been in place since Sad­dam Hus­sein was de­posed in 2003.

“Hun­dreds of mar­tyrs have fallen and they are still not lis­ten­ing to our claims,” said 21 year old stu­dent Mouataz, in Tahrir Square. “We want a prime min­is­ter with in­tegrity, but they bring back a cor­rupt man in their im­age whom they will al­low to con­tinue rob­bing us,” he added.

(AFP)

Peo­ple take part in an anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tion in the Tahrir Square, in the Iraqi cap­i­tal of Bagh­dad on Sun­day

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