06 May 2021
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Demonstrators in Iraq’s Nasiriyah Remove Protest Camp

Tuesday, 15 December 2020 01:36

Anti-government protesters in Iraq’s southern Dhi Qar province ended on Sunday a year of popular demonstrations that had swept the city of Nasiriyah.

The development took place amid reports that government authorities and groups affiliated to the Sadrist movement, of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, had threatened prominent activists.

The demonstrators had also likely cleared the protests sites in order to “catch their breath” and seriously consider the possibility of fielding candidates in next year’s June parliamentary elections. The candidates would be part of a larger coalition of activists from other parts of Iraq.

The removal of the protest camp will not mark the end of the rallies in Dhi Qar, said activists.

Official sources said the decision to clear the site had taken place through a prior agreement with the activists.

“That is part of the truth, but not all of it,” said activist and academic Abdul Wahhab al-Hamdani.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision stemmed from several factors, including pressure from the authorities and groups loyal to the Sadr movement. Over 20 activists were arrested in a single week as part of such pressure.

He also cited death threats against activists.

There are other reasons, continued Hamdani. Remaining in the protest camp was no longer useful for many of the youth and many calls had been made to clear the site due to the danger against them.

He also confirmed that planning for the elections was another factor and those preparations need focus to ensure that the candidates are successful.

The removal of the camp will not spell the end of the protests, he stressed, revealing that rallies will be held at the end of every week.

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

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