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Baghdad announces social measures to try to calm protests

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Iraqi government on Sunday morning announced a series of social measures in response to protesters’ demands in an effort to end a popular protest in which nearly 100 people were killed in less than one year. week.

On Saturday, the UN called for the end of the violence, the fifth day of a spontaneous movement that calls for the departure of the government, accused of corruption.

At the end of an extraordinary Council, the government of Adel Abdel Mahdi, confronted with its biggest challenge since taking office a year ago, announced early Sunday a decree including 17 social measures, ranging from housing assistance to the pension allowance for unemployed youth.

He also decided to build 100,000 homes. In September, local authorities in several parts of the country began the destruction of homes in informal settlements, home to three million Iraqis who built unauthorized land on state property.

In addition, the cabinet ordered the installation of halls for street vendors, in an attempt to create jobs, especially among young people, one in four of whom is unemployed in Iraq.

This youth unemployment is the first driver of the protest launched Tuesday and a sensitive issue in Iraq, where a young person immolated himself in September in Kout (south) after being confiscated his cart vendor.

Authorities, who accused “saboteurs” and “unidentified gunmen” infiltrated to target protesters and police, have also announced Sunday to have registered those killed since Tuesday in the violence on the list of “martyrs” “, paving the way for compensation for their loved ones.

– “Non partisan” –

Since Tuesday, according to the Government Commission on Human Rights, at least 99 people have been killed and some 4,000 wounded. Most of the protesters were shot dead, according to medical sources, who said Friday that six policemen had died since the protests began.

Sunday morning, the situation was calm in the streets of the capital Baghdad.

During the violence, seats in various political parties were ransacked and set on fire, while Iraqis routinely condemned their ruling class to the 12th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International.

On Saturday, parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halboussi proposed a series of reforms for social justice, but the assembly failed to meet due to a lack of a quorum because of the boycott of several lists.

Born of calls on social networks, the protest movement denounces the corruption, unemployment and decay of public services in a country chronically short of electricity and drinking water, which came out at the end of 2017 – with the proclamation of victory over Islamic State jihadist group– nearly four decades of conflict.

This movement mainly affects the capital Baghdad and the south of the country. Spontaneous, it is presented by the protesters as “non partisan”, as opposed to previous mobilizations.

“No one represents us (…) We do not want any more parties, we do not want anybody who speaks on our behalf”, launched Friday a protester to AFP.

“These are anti-system demonstrations,” Fanar Haddad, an expert on Iraq, told AFP.

The authorities have been demanding protesters time to implement reforms to improve the living conditions of the 40 million Iraqis.

The head of the UN mission in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on Saturday urged “all parties to stop and think.” “Five days of dead and wounded … It must stop,” she wrote on Twitter.

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