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Thousands of Iraqis protest government employment policy

Anti-government protesters gather at Tahrir square in Iraqi capital Baghdad on 26 January 2020. [Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Anti-government protesters gather at Tahrir square in Iraqi capital Baghdad on 26 January 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Iraqis gathered in front of the prime minister's office in central Baghdad yesterday to protest against the government's employment policy for 2021, Anadolu reported.

The agency said the protesters rejected the government's decision to halt employment in the public sector for 2021, and demanded it amends its policy.

Protester Jaber Al-Yasiri told Anadolu Agency that "thousands of university graduates had been greatly shocked by the government's decision not to provide employment opportunities in the 2021 budget."

Al-Yasiri hoped the government would launch new employment plans to absorb unemployed youth in the country and not to completely halt employment.

Fellow protester Ayat Jamil told the news site: "Providing jobs for university graduates is the state's duty, and we are not concerned with the poor planning and mismanagement that brought the country to this stage."

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There was no immediate comment from the government on the protesters' demands. However, the government said in previous statements that the financial crisis and the decrease in financial revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic have prompted it to take measures to reduce expenditure.

The Iraqi parliament has been discussing the country's general budget for nearly a month.

According to Iraq's former Minister of Planning, Nuri Al-Dulaimi, the unemployment rate in Iraq is estimated at 13.8 per cent, but rises to 27 per cent among young adults.

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