Hundreds of protesters in Baghdad demanded an end to impunity after the killing of dozens of pro-democracy militants.
Hundreds of Iraqis have protested in central Baghdad to demand that authorities hold responsible the killings of dozens of activists associated with a long-running protest movement.
More than 70 activists have been targeted in assassinations, assassination attempts and kidnappings since a pro-democracy protest movement erupted against corruption and government incompetence in 2019.
“We are here to say we want to end impunity in Iraq,” Hussein Al-Faili, an 18-year-old student, told AFP News Agency on Sunday from Firdos Square, a key protest site.
“We want freedom!” This revolution started because of this and we will not stop until we win. ”
Dozens also rallied in the southern city of Nasiriya, where tensions were rising after a hospital fire broke out. killed at least 60 people on Monday.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi announced the arrest of four suspects in the point-blank shooting of a senior academic and government adviser Hisham al-Hashemi a year ago.
Iraqi state television broadcast short clips late Friday of the alleged confession of Ahmed al-Kenani, a 36-year-old police lieutenant, who said he had used a gun to assassinate al-Hashemi.
A security source told AFP Kenani that she was affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian militia.
But Faili said the arrests were not enough.
“We want the big man who ordered the murder,” Faili said.
Most of the young protesters sang Sunday against “political and treacherous parties” while others remembered tears of their murdered comrades.
Iraq, still battered and impoverished after the 2003 US-led invasion and the ensuing turmoil, has been a battleground for influence between enemies Washington and Tehran, which has supported paramilitaries and politicians.
Activist Shatha Al-Qaisi said, “This campaign … seeks to gain the support of the whole world to stop the bloodshed. It is not a politicized movement.”
The High Commission for Human Rights has said nearly 35 activists have been killed in Iraq since an anti-government protest movement swept Iraq in October 2019.
Many expect the killings to continue as Iraq plans to hold early October elections, which had been a primary demand of anti-government protesters.