Thousands March in Anti-Govt Protest in Baghdad

Lawyers Union Organizes Call to Sack Judges, Investigate Secret Prisons

by Jason Ditz, February 10, 2011

Officials have been downplaying the prospect of such protests in Iraq, but it seems that the Tunisia-Egypt bug has spread to Baghdad, where some 3,000 people marched through a Sunni neighborhood protesting against the corruption and incompetence of the Maliki government.

The protests, which were organized by an Iraqi lawyers’ union, included calls for the government to sack judges and for a full investigation into the human rights NGOs’ reports of secret prisons in the nation.

Iraq has, of course, denied the reports about the secret prisons, and insisted that the Red Cross knew about the facility and had visited it. The Red Cross confirmed knowing about it, but insisted they weren’t allowed to visit because the officials didn’t want them questioning the detainees about treatment.

Reports suggest that today’s protests were entirely peaceful, and that smaller protests had been held in Basra and Mosul. Officials have insisted Iraq is a very different situation from those in Tunisia and Egypt, but of course such claims have been made in other nations as protests have grown.

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