Hundreds of Iraqis protest, demanding better working conditions

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are seen in central Baghdad, Iraq on April 30, 2016. Thousands of followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday stormed the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad and took control of the parliament building and surrounding areas, while dozens of lawmakers, officials and employees tried to escape the government district. [Xinhua]
. [Xinhua]

Hundreds of Iraqis on Sunday took to the streets in the capital Baghdad and two further key areas in protest against unemployment and working conditions, witnesses said.

In Baghdad, dozens of angry temporary workers stormed the outer wall of the Finance Ministry building, demanding permanent jobs, the witnesses added.

Gunshots were heard as security forces attempted to stop protesters from breaking into the ministry’s offices. Three demonstrators were injured, witnesses said.

So far, there has been no comment from the authorities.

Elsewhere in Iraq, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Wasit University in the central province of Wasit, demanding government jobs for graduates.

Meanwhile, temporary workers blocked two key bridges in the southern province of Dhi Qar, demanding permanent jobs, witnesses said.

Street protests have roiled Iraq since October 2019, with demonstrators calling for an end to corruption and an overhaul of the country’s political system, which has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The protests calmed somewhat after a new government led by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was formed in May last year.

Iraq is experiencing a deep economic crisis compounded by a fall in oil prices, the country’s main source of income, and the coronavirus pandemic.

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