Iraqi Forces Crack Down as Protests Reported Nationwide

Mass Curfews, Last Week's Violence Believed to Keep Numbers Down

Once again defying Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s orders not to demonstrate against his regime, Iraqi protesters were reported in the streets of virtually every major city today, albeit at lower levels than they were last week.

The protesters were met with water cannons and police batons as security forces chased them off the steets, though early indications are that there were few if any actual killings, a stark contrast to the 29 slain last Friday.

The complaints of the protesters were much the same as they have been elsewhere, corruption and high unemployment. One protester in Basra, a graduate from Basra University, insisted he had been trying to find work for six years and had yet to get one offer, though several officials had asked him for bribes.

Over the past week, complaints have also grown about last week’s crackdown, with growing reports that the regime has been arresting protest leaders and threatening journalists, warning them to downplay the size and seriousness of protests in their media coverage.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.