Iraq: 2,000 on Bagdad demo

“We have no jobs, electricity – nothing”

Two thousand people marched in Baghdad on Friday, the first protest in the capital since the demonstrations began in Iraq. Slogans called for "A better life – we have no jobs, no electricity – nothing."

The government was clearly shaken. The demonstration was not attacked by police or security forces. Prime Minister, al-Maliki, gathered all his ministers at a summit and declared that he needed 100 days to improve the situation.

In Kurdistan, daily protests in Sulaymaniyah continue, with 700-1,000 participants. An attempt by the PUK, one of the two ruling parties, to intimidate the demonstrators with a bomb, did not succeed. The core of the demonstrators come from the university. But even 100 mullahs took part, including mullah Kamaran, who made a speech. He was arrested later by the PUK’s special police, assaish.

But in Irbil, the KDP, the other party in power, was able to stop the protest on Friday. 2,000-3,000 KDP supporters were given food, money and weapons to gather around the portraits of their leader, Barzani. Those who participated in the protests were persecuted and some were arrested by the KDP. Several journalists were among those arrested. Dr. Abdullah Pishtiwan, participating in protests but from Australia, was missing for three days. But even in Irbil there have been protests at the university, as well as at the university in Koya.

In Hawija, a small town near Kirkuk, 300 marched on Friday. Among the demonstrators were also supporters of Al Qaeda, who recently killed three people with a harar bomb.

In Kut in southern Iraq, which held several protests in recent weeks, 500 demonstrated. Two were killed by the police. Representatives of Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement, apparently feeling the pressure from the protests, have threatened to boycott parliament if they do not get information about who fired.

New protests are announced for Friday. It is clear that Iraq’s weak politicians fear the protests, although they are so limited so far. It is important now is to spread the protests, involving more workers and building democratic committees. The formal rulers of Iraq are stooges of US imperialism. The revolution in Iraq is essentially about control over the wealth, including oil wealth. Democratic socialist planning, abolishing capitalism, is necessary to transform the situation.

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March 2011