After a calm of concern and amid disappointments with reform, new protest movements appear.
After a period of relative calm, signs of the launch of a new wave of demonstrations appeared, indicating the disappointments that occurred among citizens from the government and parliament provoked a new wave of dissatisfaction with the existing conditions, which led to the launch of several demonstrations in different areas in the Iraqi provinces. This report will review the demonstrations monitored by the monitoring team during the second half of September 2022 in several Iraqi provinces.
Demonstrations in Muthanna Governorate
The majority of the demonstrations over the past two weeks were concentrated in the Muthanna governorate, where three demonstrations were launched in different areas of the governorate, and the reasons for the demonstrations varied, including those related to the deterioration of services and others related to the formation of the new government, particularly after Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist current, announced his retirement from political work.
The first demonstration
The attempt to pass the new government could have negative consequences due to mass opposition.
Sadrist movement spontaneously took to the streets. This demonstration came out to support the so-called Ashura revolution.
The Sadrist movement leaders in Muthanna called on all Sons of
the Sadrist movement and the rest of the citizens to participate in the demonstration. According to Abu Ali Al - Giyashi, one of the Sadrist movement protesters, the goal was to close the Muthanna governorate building to protest corruption and a call for reform.
After the escalations that took place from the Sadrist protesters in Baghdad and the escalation of the pace of demonstrations there, hundreds of members of the
Part of the demonstrations that started in Muthanna governorate
The demonstration began at 1 pm with the participation of about 350 people of different ages; where the gathering was near the illiteracy eradication building near the governorate building
Then the demonstrators headed to the governorate building, denouncing the situation the country was suffering from. One of the demonstrators, Mohammed Hassan al-aajibi, stated that they came out in support of Mr. Muqtada al-Sadr and pledged to him that they would continue to demand reform. Furthermore, this demonstration differs from others as proof of fate after Mr. Muqtada al Sadr announced the suspension of his participation in the political process. The demonstrators continued for several
hours with chants, rallies, chanting Reform slogans, and demanding the elimination of corruption and nepotism. They also cut off most of the streets by the rest of the demonstrators by burning tires on almost all main streets, while the main demonstrators in front of the governorate building wrote a closed people's order on the governorate building. The demonstrators remained in front of the governorate building until nightfall, and the protests resumed the following day.
t is worth noting that the curfew decision was not a big obstacle for the demonstrators. For his part, Yacoub al-Iraqi, one of the activists in the demonstrations, pointed out that this demonstration was the people's opportunity for change and an end to corruption and the corrupt. In the media, there were many channels to cover the events, including the UTV channel and Tigris channel, in addition to electronic pages and social networking sites.
As for security, the security forces resorted to using water cannons to keep the demonstrators away from government buildings. It also closed the roads to the suspension bridge inside the government Green Zone. Furthermore, with the participation of the army forces, the security forces strengthened their deployment on all roads and streets.
Coinciding with the death of a 15- year-old boy at Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in Muthanna, who was injured in a traffic accident, demonstrations were launched denouncing poor services at Al- Hussein hospital, which is one of the leading hospitals in the province. It is worth mentioning that the
demonstrators accused the hospital staff of negligence that led to the death of Ali Taleb Shaker Al
- Hassani . Abu Alaa Al-Hassani, the deceased's uncle, pointed out that they took the injured boy
An aspect of the demonstrations that show the blocking of the road by protesters
Demonstrations outside al Hussein hospital demanded the director's dismissal after a kid died due to medical malpractice.
to the hospital on the day of the incident. However, the working health staff did not take the initiative to provide the necessary medical care and services to the injured child, as he remained bleeding for 10 hours. Instead of paying attention to the injured man, he was transferred to the Medical City in Baghdad on the pretext of the lack of intensive care rooms in the hospital, he was under severe bleeding, and an ambulance lacked all health services.
The shocking thing for the family is that after their son was picked up from Al Hussein hospital, they discovered that al Hussein Teaching Hospital contains intensive care wards with all the necessary supplies. However, the negligence was by the hospital staff, who did not admit the child to intensive care, which caused his death.
Accordingly, the demonstrators held all government agencies responsibly. Starting from the medical staff at the
The deterioration of administrative efficiency in service institutions has become an urgent issue that requires government agencies' attention.
Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital, the director
of the hospital, the director of the Muthanna health department, and the governor of Muthanna to the Minister of Health,
demanding the dismissal of the director of the Muthanna health department for his deliberate negligence in following up the hospitals of the province, which fall under his responsibility. On the other hand, the deceased child's father pointed out that the hospital did not take any measures to help the child. As it did not give him oxygen or even bandage him or wipe the blood from his face, pointing out that this is considered apparent and deliberate negligence. The father of the child also pointed out that his family helped the child even inside the hospital.
The demonstration included peacefully blocking the road in front of the Muthanna health department for several hours. They raised banners demanding the dismissal of the Director General of the Muthanna health department and holding the defaulters accountable. While the activist-Ali Al - Abdali-noted that the health index in Muthanna is deteriorating and does not exceed 10%, which is a dangerous indicator, as the deliberate and continuous neglect of the health of Muthanna is evident by various managers and governors that took office. At the same time, the deceased's relatives explained that the hospital contains 12 intensive care wards, including six on the upper floors and ready and six others on the ground floor, but uncleaned. However, it is empty and neglected by the health staff of the hospital.
The rally continued with chants demanding the accountability of the defaulters and the dismissal of the director of the Muthanna health department until 2:00 p.m., when the participants peacefully dispersed, threatening to escalate if their demands were not met. There was no government or explanatory statement from the Muthanna health department or the competent authorities regarding this demonstration. As for security, the security forces adhered to their neutrality and did not impede the demonstration's course but limited their work to organizing the demonstration until it ended on the same day. The media was limited to social networking sites, where no presence of media channels was monitored at the demonstration.
Many citizens in the Muthanna governorate, particularly in the districts, are affected by water shortage in rivers, which has contributed to the decline of health care facilities in the city. One affected area is the AL-Jarib area, located in the
Muthanna governorate. Its residents suffer from a lack of access to water. A problem that has been going on for several years. This event led the residents of the area to organize
a sit-in in front of the mayor's building, where the protesters set up two large tents in front of the mayor's building, and the street leading to the mayor was cut off. Sheikh Adel al-Jarib pointed out that they have been suffering for more than five years from the lack and scarcity of water access to their area, pointing out that the reason for the lack of water access to them is the presence of concrete barriers that impede the water flow. Although there have been decisions by the governor and higher authorities to remove these barriers, they have not entered into force, and the reason is unknown to them.
Neglect of the agricultural sector and internal migration from the countryside to the city could even worsen the economic situation, contributing to further aggravation.
Hussain Abd Muhammad, one of the protesters, who is a resident of this area, indicated that about 51,000 acres were transformed from agricultural land to a barren desert due to the lack of water access. During the previous period, the area's people had to buy water to irrigate the crops and water the animals, which caused a financial burden. These problematic conditions forced dozens of residents of these areas to leave the region, migrate to the city centers, and change their agricultural professions, negatively reflecting life in the province.
Part of the demonstration of the AL-Jarib clan due to the water outage in the area
The lack of water access to them is the presence of concrete barriers obstructing the water flow. Although there were decisions by the governor and higher authorities to remove these barriers, they did not enter into force, and the reason is unknown to them
The mayor of Rumaitha and the police commander of Rumaitha spoke with the protesters, entered their tent, and sat with them to listen to their demands and resolve them. The mayor of Rumaitha indicated that their demands were valid and would be met immediately. Likewise, the police commander of Rumaitha indicated that the existing barriers would be removed as soon as possible. As for security, the security forces provided protection to the demonstrators, dealt professionally with the demands of the protesters, and fulfilled their duty to protect state departments and citizens and maintain their neutrality by fulfilling their duty. After the leader's pledges, the sit-in ended, and no incidents of violence were documented during the sit-in.
Demonstrations in Wasit governorate
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the square of demonstrations in front of the governorate office in Kut's center. The Tishreen demonstrators led this gathering
with a group of independent youth in the governorate, a group of followers of the Sadrist current. The rally was called for through social media and groups of Tishreen protesters. The call for the demonstration was explicitly against the coordination framework, which was accused of igniting the internal war that took place in Baghdad last month, which took place between armed militias affiliated with political parties competing for power.
The signs of the October demonstrations are looming on the horizon, indicating the occurrence of new tensions in the Iraqi arena and the emergence of a new wave of demonstrations and clashes with an unknown end
The rally began with hundreds of demonstrators at the demonstration Square and at the scheduled time of the demonstration, raising Iraqi flags, banners, and photos of some of the martyrs who fell during the violence in Baghdad last month. Then, the demonstrators marched from the governorate square towards Tammuz Square and raised patriotic chants through loudspeakers. No reference to any political party was noticed among the chants to avoid direct clashes with their followers.
The gathering also witnessed no significant restrictions, and the demonstrators witnessed no violence, so the gathering could be described as peaceful.
The reasons for the demonstrations / the demands of the demonstrators
By reviewing the demonstrations and events in several Iraqi provinces, it becomes clear that the most prominent reasons that led to the start of the demonstrations are as follows:
Notes on the security authorities' handling of gatherings:
After the relative calm experienced by most of the Iraqi provinces, the demonstrations started again with indications of the occurrence of cases of violence. The opponents of the new government's passage have threatened to escalate the situation. In addition to the continued deterioration of services, the demonstrations and sit-ins have re-emerged. However, the demonstrations were not as massive as in the past months. However, the security forces' behavior was somewhat literal, as the security forces adhered to their neutrality in most of the demonstrations that were launched. Moreover, it worked to abide by its basic tasks of organizing and protecting the demonstration. Nevertheless, this matter differed with the demonstrators loyal to the Sadrist movement when the security forces resorted to using water cannons to keep the demonstrators away from government buildings.