Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad on Friday in protest at the government’s “financial and administrative corruption,” Anadolu has reported. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities across Iraq.
The protesters gathered in Al-Tahrir Square in the middle of Baghdad. Bridges and main streets in the capital were closed by the security forces.
Protesters directed their grievances at Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi as they called for an end to corruption in government. They also want “comprehensive changes” in government appointments to key positions across the country.
“The government is still unable to investigate officials who affiliate to political parties and hold them accountable for their corruption or failure to run the government and service institutions,” one protester told Anadolu. “A year ago,” claimed Ahmed Radi, “Al-Abadi made several pledges, including a pledge to fight corruption, prosecute corrupt officials and approve a transparent and quality appointments system, but none of this has been done.”
Such anti-corruption protests have been held for almost a year. Aside from the calls to end corruption and for the prosecution of corrupt officials, the people want an end to political differences in parliament.
According to the Transparency Index, Iraq has been among the most corrupt countries in the world for many years. Many other international organisations have reported that there is “waste, fraud and embezzlement of public funds” on a major scale.