Sairoun Bloc in Iraqi Paliament Announces Sit-in Amid Mass Protests - Report

© REUTERS / THAIER AL-SUDANIDemonstrators disperse as Iraqi Security forces use tear gas during a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services, in Baghdad, Iraq October 25, 2019
Demonstrators disperse as Iraqi Security forces use tear gas during a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services, in Baghdad, Iraq October 25, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Protests in Iraq began on October 1 and were suspended in mid-October for the annual pilgrimage, resuming on Friday. During the first wave of actions, 149 people were killed and some 3,500 people sustained injuries. The demonstrators are calling on the government to resign and demanding economic reforms to end widespread corruption.

Representatives of Sairoun, the Iraq parliament's largest bloc, on Saturday announced support for the "protesters' legitimate demands" by declaring a sit-in, Reuters reported.

"The Sairoun parliamentary bloc announces that it will go into opposition inside the House of Representatives and will sit-in inside parliament until the protesters' legitimate demands are met," a spokesman for the group said in a news conference.

Badr al-Zayadi, a member of Sairoun bloc, backed by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, confirmed that the sit-in would end when "all reforms the Iraqi people are demanding" are enacted, according to AFP.

Meanwhile, Iraq has reportedly suspended the Saudi state-owned Al-Hadath and Al Arabiya channels, according to Al Arabiya. The move used the pretext that the both broadcasters had no licences.

Earlier in the day, the country’s High Commission For Human Rights stated that the number of people killed during violent anti-government protests had increased to 30, while over 2,300 people had been injured.

The second wave of protests in Iraq began on Friday. At the time, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that he would carry out a cabinet reshuffle and introduce changes to election laws. Mahdi countered the protester's demands by claiming that if the government resigned it would throw the country in chaos.

 

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