Hundreds of Iraqis have rallied in central Baghdad to demand that the authorities hold the killers of dozens of activists linked to a long-running protest movement.
More than 70 activists have been targeted in assassinations, attempted murders and kidnappings since a pro-democracy protest movement against corruption and incompetence of the government broke out in 2019. “We are here to say we want to end impunity in Iraq,” Hussein Al-Faili, an 18-year-old student, told AFP news agency Firdos Square on Sunday.
‘We want freedom! This revolution has consequently begun, and we will not stop until we win. ‘
Dozens also showed up in the southern city of Nasiriya, where tensions were running high following a hospital fire in which at least 60 people were killed on Monday.
Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi announced on Friday that four suspects had been arrested during the shooting incident of prominent academic and government adviser Hisham al-Hashemi a year ago.
Iraqi state television on Friday broadcast short footage of the alleged confession of Ahmed al-Kenani, a 36-year-old police lieutenant, who said he used a handgun to assassinate al-Hashemi.
A security source told AFP Kenani was linked to Kataib Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian militia.
But Faili said the arrests were not enough.
“We want the big man who ordered the murder,” Faili said.
The mostly young protesters chanted “political parties and traitors” on Sunday, while others lamented their assassins.
Iraq, still battered and impoverished after the US leadership of the 2003 invasion and the ensuing unrest, was a battleground for influence between arch-enemies Washington and Tehran, who supported paramilitary and politicians.