Alliance Of Civilians & Sadrists: What Are They Demanding?
Salam Zidane– Yalla – Baghdad
Thousands of Sadrist Movement followers and independent civilians, including a significant number of journalists, artists and civil activists, have been protesting outside the entrances of the Green Zone in central Baghdad, demanding extensive reforms to the political process and the formation of a technocratic government.
Yalla visited the tents of the protesters and met with a number of them to hear their demands, which vary between changing the current government to a reconsideration of the constitution.
The government implemented tight security measures to protect the Green Zone in case of an attempted breach in the coming days.
“The demonstrations have finished and we have begun to strike for the sake of reforming our corrupt Iraq,” Abu Mustafa al-Muatasim, a Sadrist says. “If our demands aren’t met, orders will be issued by our leader and we are ready to execute them without warning.”
“If al-Sadr asks us to break into the Green Zone we will breach the barriers because the corrupt don’t care about the fate of our country,” he added. “The Iraqi nation has been suffering from misery throughout the past years, and we’ve had enough. Citizens have to demand their rights in a loud voice.”
“Not responding to our demands shows disregard for the rights of the Iraqis. The stage after the strikes will be general disobedience in the country in order to put an end to the continuous bleeding that started in 2003, and to eradicate division within the political process to put the country on the right course,” protester Sattar Muhsin said. “My position is fixed on demanding change in the political process that has been in place for 13 years during which the situation in Iraq has gone from bad to worse.”
Muhsin explained that the majority of the protesters are ordinary people who are tired of the corrupt political actions of the current and the previous governments, which has resulted in the waste of billions of dollars. He called for the government to resign and underlined the need for a reconsideration of the constitution in order to give roles in government to qualified individuals.
Ali al-Somari, an independent protester said: “Our demands have been neglected since 2011. The failed political system must be reformed through cancelling the quota system, the policies of the Judicial Council should be reviewed and the corrupt have to be removed. Independent individuals should be allowed to run the independent institutions, and the corrupt should be prosecuted and held accountable and made to return Iraq’s stolen money.
“Our protests don’t mean we are against the political process and demand its termination or want to create chaos in the county. Actually our objective is to reform the country and implement parts of the constitution and revise other parts of it.
“We have many objectives including providing social justice through a civil government that respects all Iraqis, we want the country to be run by qualified individuals.
“The government didn’t send a representative to consider our demands, because of this we are continuing to strike until we have achieved what came here for. The squares where the strikes are held have been transformed into stages where seminars, symposiums and poetry readings are held, and in the coming days we will be organising art events.”