Furore, indifference, confusion: Voices beyond the Iraq protests

by | Aug 5, 2022 | World

Baghdad, Iraq – Amir Madhlum had seen it all before.“They are now trying to go into the Green Zone – looks familiar?” the 33-year-old texted his friends on July 27 as he saw huge crowds of protesters trying to pull down the concrete walls around the heavily fortified area in the centre of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
Over a span of three days in the past week, supporters of the influential Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr twice breached the Green Zone and then stormed the Iraqi parliament. They later moved into the square outside the building and staged a sit-in.
The protesters’ initial goal was to stop MPs from electing Mohammad al-Sudani, nominated by al-Sadr’s opponents, as prime minister amid a deepening political deadlock that has prevented Iraq from forming an elected government nearly 10 months since a parliamentary vote that saw al-Sadr’s party win the largest number of seats in parliament.
But the firebrand leader later withdrew all of his party’s representatives from the parliament, and on Wednesday called on his supporters to continue their sit-in until a new election is held. Al-Sadr’s rivals from the Shia Coordination Framework responded by staging a counter-protest, in the latest wave of demonstrations to rock Iraq in recent years.
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In 2019, it was Madhlum and his friends who were taking to the streets in a series of mass demonstrations by the Tishreen movement aimed at putting an end to the corrupt political and economi …

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