Pakistan News Service

Tuesday Sep 16, 2014, Zul-qaadah 21, 1435 Hijri
Logo Logo
LATEST :
Pakistan News Home -> Iraq -> News Details

Shias hold counter-demos in southern Iraq

09 January, 2013

BAGHDAD: Thousands took to the streets in predominantly Shia southern Iraq on Tuesday in a show of support for the Shia premier after more than two weeks of protests in the mainly Sunni Arab north and west.

The loyalist rallies are the latest twist in a long-running standoff within Iraq's unity government between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his mainly Sunni Arab critics who accuse him of abusing counter-terror legislation to persecute the minority community. In a show of support for anti-government demonstrations, meanwhile, several Sunni and Kurdish ministers boycotted Tuesday's weekly cabinet meeting, a government source told AFP.

Pro-government demonstrations were held in the port city of Basra, and the southern cities of Kut, Diwaniyah, Karbala and Samawa, AFP journalists said, dismissing calls for reform of anti-terror laws and condemning the alleged involvement of other Middle Eastern countries in the anti-government rallies. They ranged in numbers from several hundred in Kut to thousands in Basra.

Demonstrators carried photographs of relatives they said were killed in militant attacks, as well as Iraqi flags and banners painted with slogans including, "With our blood and souls, we will protect Iraq," and "No, No for Sectarianism; Yes, Yes for National Unity".

Some placards backed Maliki, while others asked, "Is it just to release those responsible for killing?", a reference to calls in anti-government protests for the release of prisoners allegedly being wrongfully held. They came after weeks of protests in Sunni-majority provinces triggered by the arrest of at least nine guards of Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi, a top member of the secular Sunni-backed party that is part of Maliki's unity government but is freqently publicly critical of the premier.

Among those rallies have been an ongoing sit-in in western Anbar province that has blocked off a key highway linking Iraq to Syria and Jordan since December 23. The anti-government rallies continued on Tuesday in Anbar, as well as several cities in Salaheddin province, north of Baghdad.

Although the demonstrations in southern Iraq have been predominantly Shia and the protests in northern and western Iraq mostly Sunni, powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has publicly backed the anti-government rallies.

The rival demonstrations come barely three months before provincial council elections, the country's first vote since parliamentary polls in March 2010.

End.

 What do you think about the story ? Leave your comments!

Heading (Optional)
Your Comments: *

Your Name:*
E-mail (Optional):
City (Optional):
Country (Optional):
 
 
Field marked(*) are mandatory.
Note. The PakTribune will publish as many comments as possible but cannot guarantee publication of all. PakTribune keeps its rights reserved to edit the comments for reasons of clarity, brevity and morality. The external links like http:// https:// etc... are not allowed for the time being to be posted inside comments to discourage spammers.

  Speak Out View All
Imran - Qadri long march
Artilce 6 and Musharraf Trail
  Quick Vote Show Results
Question: "In view of the current situation do you think Talks with Taliban should take place only within the ambit of Article 4 of Objectives Resolution that defines our Common Purpose i.e. PM/ President down to all Pakistanis to work till we achieve the rights of Democracy, Freedom, Tolerance and Social Justice for all Pakistanis:"
Yes
No
 
Candid Corner
Exclusive by
Lt. Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
Sit-ins 'fruitless'; have no logical end: Hashmi
Qadri orders 'Go Nawaz Go' currency campaign
Suggested Sites