Tens of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad, Basra and several other southern cities on Friday to protest the financial and administrative corruption rampant in Iraqi ministries and lack of the basic services, like the electricity, as the temperatures exceeded 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), The Middle East Eye reported.
Today’s demonstrations, the second Friday of protests, took place hours after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shias, called on Iraqi prime minister to fight corruption and launch a campaign to reform the government.
“The country is facing complicated economic problems and a tremendous lack of services. All of this is a result of financial and administrative corruption which has existed in various governmental departments and institutions for years,” said Ahmad al-Safy, Sistani’s representative in a televised Friday prayer from Karbala. (Middle East Eye, 7 August)
“The prime minister is the top executive official of the counry… He is supposed to show more courage and resolve in regards to steps toward reformation… He must hit with an iron fist whoever is tampering with public money, and work to end unaccepted privileges which are granted to our officials,” Safy added.
In Baghdad, security was very tight and the roads that led to demonstration site were blocked for miles, while anti-riot police was deployed on every street corner near the protests who gathered in central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.