February 17, 2011

Kicking off in "democratic" Iraq

I'm hearing (but only just) about demonstrations and repression in occupied Iraq. The Morning Star had a report yesterday:
Police fired on thousands of demonstrators in Kut today, killing at least three people as protests over decrepit public services and government corruption intensified across occupied Iraq.
Enraged protesters responded by storming the governor's headquarters and his home, setting both ablaze.
Authorities said that at least 27 people were injured in the chaos, including one police officer.
On Tuesday thousands rallied in Fallujah, Kirkuk and Baghdad to demand job creation programmes and better electricity supplies.
In Fallujah protesters massed outside the city council building and the mayor's office demanding the resignation of the mayor and the head of the city council for failing to tackle corruption and provide basic public services.
Some demonstrators shouted, "Down with al-Maliki," referring to Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.
Others carried banners saying, "No for sectarianism, yes for unity, down with al-Maliki's government," "No restriction on freedom of expression, no to random detentions and raids, no to corrupted politicians and thieves," and "We demand better basic services - electricity, oil and food rations."
Angry Arab has pointed to what he believes is a general cover-up of a self-immolation in Iraq. Google translations aren't that reliable (or even intelligible sometimes) but this one from al Jazeera seems ok(ish):
The family of a young Iraqi Abdul Munir Abdullah, who committed suicide two days ago where burnt himself in the city of Mosul, said local authorities summoned the father and asked him to refrain from talking to the media for the suicide of his son.
The brother of a young suicide bomber in an interview to the island over the phone that the security agencies summoned his father first on Monday and Tuesday, and asked him not to talk about the suicide of his son and to say that the cause of death "of fate" and not, as reported by satellite TV and the media that he committed suicide because of despair and the pressures of life and hardship live.
A correspondent to the Arab Media Watch list has questioned the eerie silence of the BBC over all this and they have posted a link to this video which shows shots being fired into an unarmed crowd:
The BBC Arabic report does not mention the dead and injured but quotes the chief of police Hussain Jassim as saying those who fired on the protesters are private contractor guards and 'are outside the law'.
Of course, the Beeb's report could have been updated by now but don't hold your breath.


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