Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Iraqis stockpile food as they gear up for new demonstrations

Scarred by a week of demonstrations, curfews and street closures, Iraqis flocked to supermarkets and petrol stations on Thursday to prepare for the following day's anticipated protests.

A wave of anti-government demonstrations swept Iraq earlier this month, with thousands taking to the streets against rampant corruption, mass unemployment and failing services.

Authorities imposed a curfew in the capital and several southern cities, shut down several key roads and severely restricted internet access.

Demonstrations often devolved into violence, with the government saying more than 150 people were killed between Oct. 1 and 6.

But activists have called for renewed protests this Friday, prompting many to stockpile food, petrol and other supplies.

"People prefer to prepare some supplies in advance in order to be ready for whatever comes," said Abu Hamid, a retired army officer.

The 61-year-old was buying fruits and vegetables in Karrada, a commercial district in central Baghdad.

"We're afraid the roads will be closed, the internet and other communications will be cut, so we're mobilizing," said Abu Hamid, who sported an imposing dark mustache.

Protests are expected to resume on Friday, both to mark a year since Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi took power and the deadline set by Iraq's highest Shiite authority for the embattled premier to respond to protester demands.