From Badr to Sadr: Iraqi protests January 27 to February 7
By KAREEM BOTANE and MECRA STAFF
The period of review from January 27 to February 7 may be a crucial turning point in the protests that have taken place since October. These have led to more than 550 deaths and up to 20,000 injured. A group of European countries condemned the “excessive use of force” in Iraq against the demonstrators on January 27. On February 6 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also condemned the violence against protesters. “We are outraged by the violence perpetrated in the city of Najaf on February 5 that led to the killing and wounding of peaceful demonstrators. Since October of last year, peaceful demonstrators have taken to the streets to urge government reform.” His statement indicated the toll had risen to more than 600 dead.
The violence in Iraq shifted over the ten-day period from clashed between riot police accompanied by members of the Popular Mobilization Forces and the protesters, to clashes between Sadr’s followers and the protesters. Video caught men in plain clothes shooting protesters. Protesters confronted the government over the appointment of a new Prime Minister on January 30. Most of the violence took place at iconic large squares in major cities where protesters have camped. Near Khilani square in Baghdad the riot police said they were not the ones killing protesters…
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