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Iraq: 3 die as police fire on demonstration

by Tom Mellen

16iraq16.jpg



Morning Star Online, February 16, 2011

Police fired on thousands of demonstrators in Kut today, killing at least three people as protests over decrepit public services and government corruption intensified across occupied Iraq.

Enraged protesters responded by storming the governor's headquarters and his home, setting both ablaze.

Authorities said that at least 27 people were injured in the chaos, including one police officer.

On Tuesday thousands rallied in Fallujah, Kirkuk and Baghdad to demand job creation programmes and better electricity supplies.

In Fallujah protesters massed outside the city council building and the mayor's office demanding the resignation of the mayor and the head of the city council for failing to tackle corruption and provide basic public services.

Some demonstrators shouted, "Down with al-Maliki," referring to Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki.

Others carried banners saying, "No for sectarianism, yes for unity, down with al-Maliki's government," "No restriction on freedom of expression, no to random detentions and raids, no to corrupted politicians and thieves," and "We demand better basic services - electricity, oil and food rations."

In Kirkuk Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen citizens turned out in traditional costumes in a united call for better basic services, cheaper fuel and more jobs.

In the Baghdad slum of Sadr city, women, men and clerics turned out, waving banners emblazoned with: "We do not beg, we demand our rights," and "No to corruption, Yes to basic services."

On Monday Mr Maliki's administration bowed to street pressure and shelved a planned purchase of 18 F-16 war planes from the United States.

Officials pledged to divert the cash to poverty alleviation programmes.

@peoples-press.com






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