Anti-Gov’t Protests Escalate In Iraq Over Slow Pace Of Reform

BAGHDAD, Jan 20 (NNN-NINA) – Hundreds of angry Iraqi youths intensified their protests, due to the slow pace of comprehensive reform in the political process, demanded by the demonstrators.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in the squares of Tayran and Wathba, near al-Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Iraq’s anti-government protests, and set fire to dozens of tires, to block the main roads leading to the rally sites, an Interior Ministry official said.

Riot police fired tear gas canisters and bullets in the air, to disperse the protesters, leaving a protester killed and some 30 others injured and suffocated, the official said.

In southern Baghdad, demonstrations flared in the provinces of Babil, Najaf, Karbala, Dhi Qar, Diwaniyah, Wasit, Maysan and Basra, as protesters blocked the main road and closed many of the government institutions, according to local media reports.

On Jan 13, demonstrators in Nasriyah, the capital of Dhi Qar province, and other Iraqi cities announced a period of one week for the political blocs to form a new government, to replace the government of caretaker Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, otherwise the protesters would totally block main roads across Iraq and close government institutions.

Mass anti-government demonstrations continued in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq, since early Oct, demanding comprehensive reform, fight against corruption, better public services and more job opportunities.– NNN-NINA