Such protests have been growing across the nation and the region alike, but Friday will finally be Iraq’s own “day of rage,” with protesters expected to rally en masse even as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announces an absolute curfew and threats in an effort to keep anyone from attending.
Maliki insisted that Iraqis are free, and can therefore hold public protests any time they want, before adding that they were not allowed to protest on Friday and claiming that the Friday protests were a plot of Saddam Hussein backers. Hussein has been dead for years.
Maliki likewise provided no proof that such people were behind the growing protest movement, and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who normally would be one of the leaders of such protests, formally played his role as part of the ruling government to a tee, adding that he has “doubts” about protesting against the government, at least now that it’s his government.
The security forces in charge of Baghdad also announced a series of restrictions on the protests, saying the protesters wouldn’t be allowed to chant any slogans perceived as religiously divisive or seen as supportive of the former regime.