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Iraq: National Wisdom Movement Prepares for Mass Demonstrations

Iraq: National Wisdom Movement Prepares for Mass Demonstrations

Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 - 07:30
Protests in Basra (File Photo: AFP)

Iraq’s National Wisdom Movement, led by Ammar al-Hakim, is planning to call for mass demonstrations next Friday in most of the provinces to protest failure in handling government’s work and corruption.

The Movement is threatening protests might later become “civil disobedience” if the legitimate demands of the people are not met.

Last June, the National Wisdom announced the adoption of “political, constitutional, national, and constructive opposition.” It also announced its withdrawal from “Reform and Reconstruction” bloc, which has about 120 seats in parliament.

National Wisdom was established in July 2017, after Hakim left the Islamic Supreme Council, founded by his uncle Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim in Iran in 1982.

Movement member of the Executive Committee, Mohammed Husam al-Husseini, confirmed the protests saying they will include 14 Iraqi governorates, adding that Friday demonstrations will be the beginning.

Husseini told Asharq Al-Awsat that if the demands are not met, protests will become sit-ins, and eventually civil disobedience if nothing is achieved.

Asked about protests in Salahuddin, Anbar, and Nineveh where the Movement has very weak representation, Husseini indicated that the important thing is to have a presence regardless of the number of demonstrators. He noted that the Movement does not claim the number of participants will be equal in all provinces, but it is determined to carry on.

He informed Asharq Al-Awsat of the demands such as improving living conditions, services, security and weapon control by the state.

Husseini denied claims that the Movement is mad at Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi, noting that they believe he has the ability to serve the country, however, the government’s program is not implemented.

On the controversy and escalating disagreements between National Wisdom Movement and the governor of Basra, Asaad al-Eidani, Husseini noted that the governor has issues of corruption and does not want any demonstration.

The governor is funding pages on social media promoting the idea that coordination departments of Basra refuse to participate in the Movement’s demonstrations, which is not true.

Activists from Basra expressed their dissatisfaction that the National Wisdom is “riding the wave of demonstrations” and are more inclined to believe that the Movement wants to pressure for the position of the governor.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa al-Araji said that by adopting protests and demonstrations, blocs and parties are violating the principle of democracy.

Araji said in a statement that these blocs can claim anything, even if they want to overthrow the government, but they must do so through the parliament, and in accordance with the constitution.

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