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Iraq denies split of ambassadors and diplomats in support of protests

Iraqi protesters try to remove the security forces' barricades on Al-Sarafiya Bridge and try to enter the road of the high-security Green Zone, where key government offices and foreign embassies are based, during ongoing anti-government demonstrations at Tahrir Square in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 30 October 2019. [Murtadha Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi protesters in Baghdad on 30 October 2019 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry denied on Monday media reports indicating that ambassadors and diplomats had split in support of widespread protests, which have been taking place for ten days.

Local and Arab media reported that two ambassadors, including Iraq’s ambassador to Turkey, Hassan Al-Janabi, and seven diplomats, had abandoned the government, in solidarity with the protesters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahaf, told the Anadolu Agency: “I categorically deny this news (…) the ministry’s staff is fully operative at the level of the centre, in Baghdad, and embassies and the missions are committed to official duties.”

Al-Sahaf added: “The circulated information is false, and Hassan Al-Janabi, Iraq’s ambassador to Ankara is currently performing his duties.”

READ: Iraqi police kill 3 in protests at Iranian Consulate in Karbala

Since 25 October, Iraq has been witnessing a wave of escalating anti-government protests, the second of its kind following other demonstrations, which had taken place two weeks earlier.

During the protests, at least 260 people were killed during clashes between security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), on the one hand, and demonstrators on the other.

Throughout the country, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the government’s rough handling of the protests. Thus, some observers believe that the new wave of demonstrations will put increasing pressure on the government of Adil Abdul Mahdi, and may even lead to overthrowing it eventually.

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