Iraqi security forces issued a statement today on the eve of planned protests in the capital city of Baghdad, warning that the protest is “unauthorized” and subsequently illegal, and threatening to deal with anyone armed as a “terrorist threat.”
This follows statements earlier in the week by Prime Minister Hayder Abadi’s office, insisting that the war on terror is an “historic responsibility,” and that protesters should leave them alone to focus on the war. His office has made similar statements in advance of other recent protests.
Baghdad has faced major Friday protests off and on for months, with demonstrators seeking major reforms including the replacement of the current cabinet with technocrats as a way to try to get a handle on the nation’s corruption woes.
Abadi made an effort to nominate such a cabinet months ago, but parliament refused to vote on it, and in the face of protests, the whole matter was simply dropped. These previous protests also served as a pretext to add more troops to the Green Zone to keep protesters out, which has added to unrest in the country as security across the populated parts of Baghdad has been all but nonexistent.