Farmers ' protests in Iraq.
The suffering of the peasants in the Iraqi provinces continues between the poor environmental conditions of Agriculture and the government's breaking of its promises to the peasants, which led to them coming out with a demonstration to demand their rights. Unlike the previous protests during the coordination between the demonstrators in two governorates. The rally was held to require the rights of peasants in the areas affected by government negligence, a gesture not seen in Iraq during previous demonstrations. This step can be considered a step towards unifying the demands to put pressure on the government to respond to the needs of the demonstrators. This report will review the demonstrations monitored by the monitoring team during the second half of December 2022 in the Diwaniyah and Najaf governorates.
Demonstrations in Diwaniyah and Najaf governorate on 18-12-2022
The Diwaniyah governorate witnessed a demonstration organized by thousands of peasants. The march began by organizing a protest vigil at precisely nine o'clock in front of the intersection (Ghamas) of Diwaniyah governorate, where thousands of peasants from the people of the governorate came out. In addition, the residents of the neighboring cities of Najaf governorate participated in the demonstration, namely the districts of (mashkhab, Abu Sakhir, and Al-Hira).
The lack of commitment of the Iraqi government to its responsibilities towards farmers could threaten the future of farming in Iraq
It is worth mentioning that this demonstration was planned several days before its launch. One of the coordinators of the rally pointed out that a meeting of the coordinators of the demonstration was held at the House of Sheikh Jamil Bishr al-Hilali, one of the dignitaries of the city of Ghamas, Diwaniyah governorate, advocates for the rights of peasants and is one of the supporters of the peasants. Therefore, the decision to the demonstration was made after procrastination by the government, promises that needed to be fulfilled by the Diwaniyah governorate, and the impatience of the peasants to obtain their rights in other ways.
Part of the demonstrations of peasants demanding their rights
The demonstration movement began after farmers and peasants of both Najaf and Diwaniyah governorates decided to hold demonstrations and sit-ins at the Ghamas - Diwaniyah-Najaf intersection, where protesters gathered in front of Husseiniya (Sayyid al-Shuhada) and set off from it to the Ghamas intersection by buses and personal cars belonging to the organizers of the demonstration.
The meeting was held with the rest of the neighboring cities of Najaf and Diwaniyah governorates at precisely nine o'clock in the morning, where the demonstration began, during which the main road linking Najaf and Diwaniyah governorates (Ghamas intersection) was cut by farmers and farmers. One of the protesters explained the demonstrators' essential demands, which included releasing financial dues to farmers from summer season compensation. As a result, it was approved by the Council of Ministers in its previous sessions, in addition to increasing the plan to support farmers with fertilizers and seeds. Moreover, it canceled the debts of the Ministry of Electricity imposed on peasants immediately dropped and stopped all lawsuits filed against the peasants by the Ministry of Electricity.
One of the demonstrators also told the monitoring team that one of the most important reasons for this demonstration was the deterioration of the living reality of the peasant segment. Furthermore, the dependence of this segment on agriculture, and the lack of adequate water supply by the central government to plant the summer crop, which is a crop (Shilling), caused significant financial damage to the peasants.
Another aspect of the peasant demonstrations demanding their rights
Although the previous central government ordered the payment of compensation to the peasants instead of the loss they suffered during the agricultural season, these compensations were not disbursed in the Kadhimi cabinet nor the Sudanese government, which prompted the peasants to come out to demand their rights. The government has not issued any statement on the demands of the peasants.
The demonstrators have announced that if the demands are not met, there will be open sit-ins and further escalation. Although during the demonstration, there was a stampede by the security forces represented by riot police for the demonstrators, the matter did not develop into violent acts, as the demonstration remained peaceful until it ended. As for the media, there was media coverage by the Shamiya electronic channel and on social networking sites.
Causes of demonstrations/demands of demonstrators
By reviewing the demonstrations and events in several Iraqi provinces, it becomes clear that the most prominent reasons that led to their launch are the following:
* Disbursement of financial dues to peasants.
* Cancellation of debts imposed by the Ministry of Electricity on peasants.
* Stopping all lawsuits filed against farmers by the Ministry of Electricity
* Strengthening the government plan that will support the farmer with fertilizers and seeds
Remarks on the security authorities ' handling of gatherings:
Many questions still surround the performance of the security forces about their performance of their tasks, which created them between being a source of protection for citizens and being a means of suppressing and preventing demonstrations. However, the security forces' reaction to the demonstrations has declined, especially during the past months. Nevertheless, when many violent acts emerge, they may negatively affect democracy and peace in Iraq.