18 Killed in Iraq Overnight, Gov’t Issues New Reform Plans
6 October 2019
At least 18 people were killed in clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Baghdad overnight, according to police and medical sources, as the cabinet tried to appease public anger over corruption and unemployment with a new reform plan.
The scale of the protests, in which nearly 100 people have died since Tuesday, has taken the authorities by surprise. Two years after the defeat of the Islamic State Group, security is better than it has been in years, but corruption is rampant, wrecked infrastructure has not been rebuilt and jobs remain scarce.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s 17-point plan was the result of an emergency cabinet meeting Saturday night and comes after days of offering only vague reform promises.
It includes increased subsidized housing for the poor, stipends for the unemployed as well as training programs and small loans initiatives for unemployed youth.
Read more at https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/18-Killed-in-Iraq-Overnight-Govt-Issues-New-Reform-Plans-20191006-0004.html
Powerful cleric urges Iraq government to quit as protests rage
October 4, 2019
One of Iraq’s most influential clerics called on Friday for the government to resign as the death toll rose to 65 in three days of violent national protests against official corruption.
Moqtada al-Sadr, a populist political leader who has a huge following on the Iraqi street, said new elections should be held soon.
“Respect the blood of Iraq through the resignation of the government and prepare for early elections overseen by international monitors,” a statement from his office said.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called for calm as more than 190 people were wounded in the capital on Friday, but protesters scorned his promises of political reform.
Sadr’s intervention appeared likely to encourage them to continue their uprising until the government backs down.
On the streets of Baghdad, police appeared to be targeting individual protesters. Reuters reporters saw one fall to the ground after being shot in the head. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
Read more at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-protests/death-toll-surges-to-46-as-iraq-unrest-accelerates-cleric-blames-politicians-idUSKBN1WJ0NW