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Iraqi PM pledges a package of reforms to calm demonstrators anger

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Iraqi government issued a series of “important” decisions during an extraordinary session chaired by Adel Abdul Mahdi in response to the demands of the participants in the bloody protests that started five days ago that killed about 100 people and injured thousands, according to official statistics.

An unprecedented protest movement erupted in Baghdad and several southern provinces, condemning government performance and demanding the prosecution of corrupt people, fighting unemployment and providing public services.

The new decisions included 17 paragraphs, most notably facilitating access to residential land and building new units, in addition to granting 175 thousand dinars (about $ 145) per month to the unemployed for three months.

The decisions also included the establishment of modern marketing complexes in commercial areas in Baghdad and the provinces.

Before the protests began, the Iraqi authorities launched campaigns to remove the indiscriminate housing overruns of three million poor people amid harsh and unsanitary conditions without providing an alternative.

A young man died in the city of Kut, south of Baghdad, after he set his body on fire after his vehicle was confiscated.

The cabinet decided to consider the victims of the demonstrations as “martyrs” and give their families “privileges of martyrs.” He also opened the door to volunteer for the army and return those whose contracts were terminated after the Islamic State’s invasion in 2014.

He directed the Council of Ministers to implement the measures and decided to discuss the second package on reforms at the next session.

The demonstrations that began last Tuesday witnessed violence, gunfire and burning of a number of political party headquarters, which the demonstrators accuse of being behind the acts of corruption in the country. In return, Iraqi authorities accused “unidentified snipers” of shooting at security forces and civilians.

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