Thirty Iraqi demonstrators were suffocated by tear gas bombs by Iraqi security forces in an attempt to prevent demonstrations in Baghdad and disperse demonstrators on a commercial street leading to Tahrir Square in the center of the capital.
The escalation of violence against demonstrators demanding the overthrow of the regime came after reaching a political agreement aimed at keeping the current authorities in office by orders and presence of Qassim Soleimani, the Quds Force commander, asking Iraqi security forces to use excessive force to end the protests in the country.
According to AFP, the meeting between Soleimani, Moqtada al-Sadr and Mohammed Reza al-Sisiati, the son of Ali al-Sistani, resulted in Abdul Mahdi to remain in office.
The source confirmed that the only party that rejected the agreement is the „Victory” coalition, led by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who believes that the only solution to the crisis is the departure of Abdul Mahdi.
„The political parties agreed during a meeting of the majority of leaders of large blocs to adhere to Adel Abdul Mahdi and adhere to power in return for reforms in the fields of anti-corruption and constitutional amendments,” and also “the support of the government in ending the protests by all available means,“ AFP is quoted.
The Iraqis are trying to demonstrate on the road to Jumhuriya Bridge, which connects Tahrir to the Green Zone, where several governmental headquarters are located.
Media sources confirmed that clashes between Iraqi security forces and protesters have been going on for four days on four bridges in the capital Baghdad, but security forces managed to repel the demonstrators and regain control of three bridges, lifted the concrete barriers located on the bridge No. 3.
For his part the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that the peaceful demonstrations that emerge in the country is one of the most important events in Iraq since 2003.
Al-Mahdi said in a statement that the demonstrations “helped and will help to pressure the political forces, the government, legislative, executive and judicial authorities to correct the paths and accept the changes. Just as the demonstrations are a movement to return to the natural rights of the people, the continuation of demonstrations should serve to the return of normal life in which the demands are fulfilled.”
He also pointed out that the government and judicial authorities will continue to “investigate the cases of martyrs and wounded demonstrators and troops, will not remain a detainee of the demonstrators and will bring to trial anyone found guilty of criminal offenses and will prosecute anyone who assaulted, kidnapped or detained outside the framework of the law and judicial authorities.”
But it is worth mentioning that Abdul Mahdi’s office also issued a statement, stressing that “the demonstrations were accompanied by criminal and terrorist acts and clearly visible, in order to undermine the prestige of the state and weaken its capabilities, and target the people of Iraq and security.”
He acknowledged that “the crime of preventing state employees from carrying out their duties is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years,” while “the crime of sabotage, demolition, destruction or occupation of public buildings or property allocated to departments, government departments, public facilities or state installations, including Transport and bridges will have severe penalties. “
He also demanded life imprisonment or temporary imprisonment for the “crime of burning innocent houses and the headquarters of security forces and official and semi-official circles,” while he stated that “the penalty for the crime of threatening to commit a felony against innocent citizens and security forces, imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years.”
And that “the crime of assault, injury or violence against innocent citizens and security forces, punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.”
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