Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the Iraqi government to respond to protesters demands as thousands of Iraqis gathered to demonstrate in the cities of Baghdad, Basra, Amara, and Nasariya. The protesters want jobs and better services, but the government has done little to alleviate the problems plaguing its citizens. Instead, many protestors are being arrested and beaten. Iraq’s top cleric also told lawmakers to form a new government quickly in order to tackle corruption. Although parliamentary elections were held in May, lawmakers have yet to form the new government.
Iraq ended on Thursday an Internet and social media blockage that was imposed to prevent information being passed between protesters. However, Reporters Without Borders also released a report that documents assaults and threats against journalists covering the protests. Security forces and Shi’ite militias were reported dispersing the crowd in Baghdad on Friday.
Overall, at least seven people were killed, and four were wounded:
Gunmen killed a man in Khor al-Zubayr.
In Kirkuk, gunmen killed an intelligence official working for the Shi’ite milititas.
An attack on a mosque was one dead and one injured in Rashidiya.
Two militants were killed and another was wounded in an airstrike near Rutba.