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Anti-government Protests Continue in Iraq

Anti-governmental protests first erupted in Baghdad, Iraq, in July 2018, and have continued for over a year, eventually culminating last month in what is known as the Iraqi October Revolution. The protests, which mainly arose due to political corruption and the gap in the quality of living between the elites and the ordinary citizens in the nation, call for government reform. The protesters, mostly the young people of Iraq, are asking for the downfall of the Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the political party that abused public funds and for the complete end of a political system that has existed since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003. On October 7th, the government security forces shot live ammunition at protesters to break up the mass demonstrations, leaving scores of people dead and thousands more wounded. In response to the exacerbating tensions between the citizens and the government, AbdulMahdi announced a plan to provide unemployment assistance and government housing for low-income residents. Since then, however, the government has cut off the Internet in Baghdad and most other regions in the country and has detained the journalists covering the protests. In the midst of tragedies, Iraq’s top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani demanded the government to investigate which “undisciplined elements” and its affiliations had given orders to shoot protesters.

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