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Iraqi army promises to protect demonstrators on ‘day of action’

IraqiSecAFP
The Iraqi army said on Tuesday that it would protect protesters as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather for a day of action in the capital Baghdad.
Othman al-Ghanimi, the Iraqi Army Chief-of-Staff, made the comments in a speech to demonstrators to mark the second anniversary of the military defeat of the so-called Islamic State.
“Your army and security forces are there to protect you until your legitimate demands are met,” Ghanimi stated.
The announcement comes amid ongoing anti-government protests in Iraq that have left over 450 people dead and at least 17,600 others injured in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
The protests in Iraq reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, a call for more jobs, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.
The United Nations, as well as Amnesty International, have called for an end to the bloodshed and urged security forces to show restraint against protestors.
Related Article: Iraq to prosecute over 40 security forces responsible for killing protestors: report
Demonstrators in Iraq are calling for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say fails to address their needs, but, rather, serves the interests of a small governing elite.
The developments have forced Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi to hand in his resignation. In a special session held last week in Baghdad, the Iraqi Parliament voted to accept Abdul Mahdi’s resignation.
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