Police Move Against Baghdad Protesters on Second Day of Rallies

Police fire tear gas, stun grenades at demonstrators

Protesters took to the streets of Baghdad for the second straight day demanding reforms, and were once again confronted by police firing tear gas and stun grenades, leading to an exchange at the bridges to the Green Zone.

These demonstrations are marking the one-year anniversary of the previous major protests. Those protests ended with a collection of reform promises, but many are agitating for new rallies because those reforms largely never happened.

The protesters wanted a more responsive government, free elections, and political blocs that are beholden to the voters, not to the US and Iran. Elections are still months down the road, and interim governments are going through the motions.

As with previous protests, the government’s only real reaction to people taking to the streets with grievances is to throw the police at them. While yesterday’s protests were confined to Baghdad, today saw more in the Shi’ite south, reflecting how unsuccessful the crackdown has been.

PM Mustafa Kadhimi is calling for “restraint” against the protesters, but so far there is little sign of engagement with them, beyond a growing police presence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.