Iraq Protests : PM Abdul Mahdi announces cabinet reshuffle, 3-day national mourning amid violent unrest

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Baghdad, Oct 10: Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has announced on Wednesday a cabinet reshuffle, declared a three-day national mourning and stated riots who shot anti-government protesters would be held accountable as he sought to end violent civil unrest in the nation.

Last week, anti-government protests erupted in Baghdad that the authorities fear could lead towards further civil strife.

The government announced a package of reforms, including additional job opportunities, housing, and subsidies, that are unexpected to satisfy Iraqis.

Addressing a media conference, Mahdi said, “We will ask parliament to vote tomorrow on changes to ministries,” adding the authorities would be naming hundreds of corrupt officials for the investigation to the judiciary.

In attempts to stem unrest, the government has made use of internet blackout and arrests of several anti-government protesters.

“We gave clear orders not to use live fire but there were still victims of the shooting,” Abdul Mahdi said, adding that it was wrong to damage the country.

Iraq’s President Barham Ahmed Salih has on Monday called on anti-government protesters to join a constructive dialogue to put an end to violent civil unrest in the nation.

Salih, addressing a public event in Baghdad, also denounced the targeting of security forces and “peaceful” demonstrators with live rounds of firing, according to ANI.

The Iraq president also stated he backs a “fundamental ministerial reshuffle” in order to enhance authorities’ working, as well as, to activate its process to achieve a “qualitative leap” in its workings to offer public services.

The statements came as 4,000 individuals summoned to demonstrate in the capital, in defiance of the curfew imposed on Wednesday. In addition to the restriction imposed, Iraq’s authorities have also shut the internet service in Baghdad and several other regions.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) has called on Iraq to exercise maximum restraint. “Every individual has the right to speak freely, in keeping with the law,” UN special envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said.

 

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