Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sadrists Take Hammers Instead of Roses to Protests in Baghdad - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Baghdad- London- In a sudden reboot of the demonstrations, protestors once again clustered at the Liberation Square, Baghdad. Demonstrators attempted to crossover into the Green Zone, breaking through concrete barriers.

An eyewitness at the location said that over four thousand protestors, a majority of which are Sadrists – what followers of the Sadrist movement go by- and a few belonging to the Civil Democratic Alliance were holding heavy-duty
hammers at the demonstration. Security forces resorted to sonic weapons and tear gas in order to break up the masses, which only agitated the protestors further.

The witness told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the security forces faced the protests with force and obstructed their way across the bridge, which stood to be a strong message that the protestors this time were not going to be allowed into the Green Zone.

Commenting on justifications given on why the security forces would go to such extreme measures to keep the protestors out, the witness said: “It is clear that there are conspirators hidden among the crowds planning for something.”

Civil Democratic Alliance activist Intisar Jabbar said that “it was decided that protestors on Friday would not perform any demonstrations in the light of the ongoing counter-ISIS operations in Fallujah, so that they are not accused of distracting security forces.

“However, some protest leaders said that not demonstrating means complying to Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi’s wishes; which were to halt all protests on Friday so that we do not divert security forces attention away from the Fallujah battles held for its liberation,” she added.

“We were ordered -in case of participating at the demonstrations- to light candles, hold roses and raise Iraqi flags in tribute to martyrs fallen in Fallujah, however, we were shocked when Sadrists pounded concrete barriers with hammers attempting to crossover to the Green Zone,” said Jabbar.

Security and parliamentary sources revealed the “presence of a plot for insurgency conducted by the anti-government militias that would play to the benefit of a certain political party in light of the grave state-of-affairs Baghdad is experiencing.”

Sources added that five bridges were closed down at center-Baghdad, roads were cutoff and security forces deployed across the whole city.

Iraqi intelligence exposed a plan on parts of the capital being taken down, especially the Green Zone, which would comprise bypassing security by sneaking in with the masses, sources added.

The insurgents would carry out a series of violent attacks to overrun Baghdad, sources added.

Protests have been held almost every Friday for weeks by people demanding the current government to be replaced with technocrats. Iraqi PM Abadi had proposed that measure in February, but has faced opposition from powerful parties that rely on control of ministries for patronage and funds.

Sadr, a Najaf-based cleric who led an insurgency against U.S.-led forces, has also demanded a technocratic government, encouraging his supporters to call for the change.