Unexpected government reactions to the demonstrations have become the best option to resolve the repercussions in the country.
Resolution 315 has become a distant hope for Iraqis whose livelihoods have worsened. The continued implementation disruption of the resolutions issued by the government and its unexpected reactions caused hundreds of voices of vengeance to rise and call for an end to the crisis and a solution to corruption. In this report, the demonstrations monitored by the monitoring team during the second half of May 2022 will be reviewed.
The demonstrations of contract employees were not the only ones of their kind, as demonstrations were launched in different governorates of Iraq for the same reason.
# Stabilization is our demand. With this phrase, the Najaf demonstration began, where hundreds of 315 contract employees from all service departments were demonstrated in the Najaf governorate. This demonstration extends a wave of previous demonstrations, a unified central demonstration launched in coordination with representatives of the rest of the provinces. The first demonstration began on April 24 2022. However, due to procrastination and stalling by the concerned authorities, the demonstrations renewed again on Wednesday, May 18, at eight o'clock in the morning in solidarity and in coordination
with the rest of the provinces. The demonstration started from al-Sadr square with the gathering of 315 contract employees holding slogans, calling on the concerned parties to implement their demands, which they have called for since the start of the demonstrations and so far.
Showing a group of young protesters
Another aspect of the protests
As one of the protest representatives said today, we stood for the installation. We are 315 contract employees demanding all the privileges of this resolution of land plots, advances, extra hours, danger, marital and children; today, we demand the government and the House of Representatives to hear this segment of 315 contracts in the provinces of Najaf. The demonstrators also demanded the addition of an explicit paragraph in the 2022 budget, Article 61-B, where the fixation of employees with contracts according to the budget law for the year (2021) for the installation of old contracts - that is, anyone who owns a contract service more than five years – this law obliges all government institutions to apply Paragraph (B) of Article 61 contained in the general budget law. According to the demonstrators, this law will help install a large number of the contract employees in the departments of the Iraqi state".
The demonstrators also called for the amendment of Paragraph (B) of Article 61, which relates to the duration of service, where they demanded that the term of installation is reduced to two years instead of five years and that the state cover the financial rights of the installers of contracts instead of their government institutions, as stipulated in the paragraph.
The protesters went to the House of Representatives, and a unified statement was submitted by the coordination and representatives of 315 contract employees. A demonstrator read the statement in front of the Office of the Council of members to the members of the House of Representatives. As the representatives of the people asked the parties concerned to intervene quickly and work to implement the demands of the demonstrators as the they warned the government that it must respond to the demands of the demonstrators; otherwise, they would have a more robust response, which is to declare an open sit-in until the fulfillment of the demands. Finally, the statement was delivered to one of the Office of the House of Representative's representatives in the city, where the latter promised to raise these demands to the concerned authorities.
What is striking about these demonstrations is the absence of the media's role in transmitting events, especially since these demonstrations are a series of sit-ins in more than one governorate
The role of the media was limited to social networking sites, especially Facebook, and no television channel broadcast the demonstration activity. No government response to the protesters’ demands has been recorded. The responses were limited to members of the House of Representatives from the Sadrist bloc-Mr. Abdul Mohsen al - Nafaz , independent MP Hadi al-Salami It is the state of law MP-Jawad Al-Ghazali
On the same day, in response to the demonstrators’ request, a group of parliamentarians from Babil Governorate submitted a request to the First Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding this segment, which included the following:
1- Adding a paragraph to install the contractors in the 2022 budget and inform the relevant authorities (Ministry of Finance - Ministry of Planning - Governorates) to prepare the financial costs necessary to implement this paragraph.
2- Calculating the wage service and reducing the installation years from 5 years to 2 or 3 years according to their importance.
Including the procedures appointed after 10/2/2019 and the procedures for the years 2020-2021 Resolution 315.
Coverage of post-appointment procedures 2 /10 /2019 2020-2021 resolution 315.
Security forces have not used any violence or intervened to organize the protesters. The demonstration continued with its peacefulness until it ended on the same day.
Shows protesters burning tires on the Zaytoon Bridge
With a wave of smoke from elevators and burning tires, Dhi Qar Governorate began its day. On May 18, 2022, at eight o’clock in the morning, hundreds of graduates of colleges and institutes, including free lecturers, near the Nasiriyah lobby square, demanded to find job opportunities that suit their specializations, install free lecturers on permanent staff and raise Income level from 250 Iraqi dinars to a salary equal to that of the permanent employees in state schools. Then, in an escalating step to pressure the government to implement their demands, they headed to the Al-Zaytoun and Al-Nasr bridges on foot, cut them from both sides, and prevented vehicles from moving on them. The burning tires was a reaction by the protesters to the government's disregard of the protesters’ demands. One of the protesters, Bassem Hanin, a lecturer who worked for
free at a public school in Nasiriyah, said he worked as a volunteer lecturer for more than five years. He and a number of his colleagues contracted with the Ministry of education to work for free, hoping that they would be appointed to the permanent staff in the future. Now that the government is still procrastinating on the issue of their appointment, so they decided to escalate and pressure the government by cutting roads and burning tires until government acquiesces to their demands.
Contrary to what is expected from the government, instead of responding to the demands, the government agencies demanded that the demonstrators take prior consent to demonstrate
Furthermore, it was an unexpected reaction by the local government, which was supposed to support the mass demands. Mr. Muhammed Hadi Al-Ghazi, Governor of Dhi Qar, issued a local document published by the Governor's Media Office and the Nasiriyah News Network, calling for the demonstrators not to block roads and bridges it disrupts the interests of citizens. The
governor also added to the necessity for the demonstrators to take the fundamental approvals to hold the demonstrations and not take any escalatory step that harms the citizens and disrupts the traffic movement.
In terms of security, the monitoring team noted that the security forces avoided approaching the demonstrators but instead took the spectator position from a distance of hundreds of meters from the demonstrators' site, where they monitored the movement of the demonstrators. It did not perform its security duty to protect the demonstrators or organize their movement. Despite the road closure and burning tires now, the demonstration continued without any incidents, and in the end, the demonstrators opened bridges. As a result, the movement returned to normal in the area. Alternatively, in the media, the demonstration events were published on social networks, and the Nasiriyah News Network and the local Nasiriyah TV and Radio published a government document criticizing the demonstrators' behavior in terms of burning tires and closing roads and bridges.
The reasons for the demonstrations / the demands of the demonstrators
By reviewing the demonstrations and events in several Iraqi governorates, the most prominent reasons that led to the start of the demonstrations can be reviewed as follows:
Notes on the security authorities’ handling of gatherings:
The demonstrations, in general, were peaceful, and their focus was economic research, which was to improve economic conditions for contract employees. Such demonstrations can be considered a description of the dire reality of the economic conditions of a large segment of society. In the face of these demands, the security authorities dealt peacefully and passively at the same time. The security forces resorted not to dealing with the demonstrators and staying away from the demonstrators by a short distance. This behavior by the security forces can be taken as a negative security indicator in carrying out its duties in protecting the demonstrators.