By Randa Darwish
People in many Iraqi cities have been facing difficulties accessing the internet during last week. It was attributed to a deliberate power cuts by the government to suppress anti-government protests staged by hundreds of Iraqis in major cities.
Many videos and images were shared by social media activists who figuered out their own ways to connect to the internet, showing security forces threatening protesters with weapons, as well as beating and shooting peaceful protesters.
Confirming the government’s aim behind cutting the internet off many cities, activists said the international community will be able to see what is going on inside Iraq.
For the second week in a row, widespread protests swept across Iraq to protest the electricity cuts, poor services and massive unemployment amidst post-election uncertainty.
Translation: “More than one year had passed since claiming territory over Mosul from ISIS, and the health system in the city is still completely destroyed, no essential services and reconstruction efforts are still poor. Nothing changed.”
While there are no confirmed reports on the number of people killed or wounded during the protests, activists confirmed there have been at least 15 deaths and hundreds injured, in addition to the arrests.
Translation: “The total amount of deaths in southern Iraq so far reached 15 killed, 500 injured, around 40 people were kidnapped beside the hundreds who have been arrested. This video is for the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari while attacking Manamah and Riyadh for what he called the use of force in Bahrain.”
Few images shared on social media showed protesters being shot by live bullets in the streets, with activists calling for the international community’s attention.
Protests began from Basra, the biggest southern city in Iraq and the main oil hub of the country. Shortly after, protests spread to other cities including Najaf and Karbala.
Protesters also broke into the international airport of Najaf during the week protesting the corruption in managing the airport revenues by political parties in the city. The airport was closed, resuming work a couple of days after.
The main aim behind the protests is believed to be mounting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who is seeking a second term in the coming elections. However, he appeared this week in his weekly news conference promising protesters to work together to fight corruption and improve the services provided by the government.
But did this actually help in reducing the number of people killed in the protests?
*All videos in this story is not confirmed by Al Bawaba either it was shared by Iraqi activists and social media users.
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