Friday, April 12, 2013

If they have the right to protest, why are they punished for protesting?


Above, from an Iraqi Spring MC video, is Sheikh Ali Hamad speaking in Jalawla today at the protest there.   He asks a basic question in his speech: If the Constitution guarantees Iraqis the right to protest and demonstrate why are those who exercise the right being targeted, arrested and tortured?

On the left side of the screen, the protester is carrying a sign that reads, "Obama, If you Cannot Hear Us Can you Not See Us?"  The sign to the right reads, "IRAQ has become the Wild West, Land with NO LAW."  In Samarra, they burned flags of Israel and the US.

At the sit-in in Baiji, protesters declared that their biggest concern was the release of our men and women.  This goes to the point we've been making all week.  The Justice and Accountability Law and Commission -- not the big concern for the average Iraqi.  It's concerns for politicians and government officials.  The people are concerned with Article IV.  That's what allows innocent people to be arrested.  That's what the protesters mean when they say release the innocents.  It's not that complicated or difficult to follow unless you're paid by a western media outlet and then you're cluseless.  In Mosul, protesters delcare they will not relinquish their rightsIn Falluja, activists chanted, "We will not retreat.  We will not surrender.They turned out in Tikrit (photo below).

From Tikrit    من تكريت
 Here they are (below) in Baquba.

From Baquba من بعقوبة

And they turned out in Kirkuk (below).

From Kirkuk من كركوك

Alsumaria notes that thugs tried to inflitrate the Kirkuk protests and they were expelled by the activists.  (The reason they tried to infiltrate?  They were carrying the Iraq flag from the days of Saddam Hussein, hoping to pose as protesters and discredit the movement.)

As usual, to get reporting on the protests, you need the Iraqi media and, as usual, the Iraqi Spring MC does a strong job reporting on the protests -- here for Facebook, here for Twitter, here for Flickr.

NINA reports, "Thousands of protesters and worshipers flocked from the early hours of the morning to the main squares of sit-ins north of Ramadi and west of Fallujah to participate in Friday prayers."  Alsumaria reports tens of thousands in Ramadi (and check out their photo). Iraq Times reports that students demonstrated at the University of Basra.

Meanwhile Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Kanaan double bombing targeting Sunnis leaving a mosque which has claimed 7 lives and ldeft twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria has a photo of some of the wreckage here.  In other violence, All Iraq News notes a Shurqat bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left another injured.

In eight days, 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces are scheduled to hold elections.  Anbar Province and Nineveh Provinces have seen the largest protests against Nouri.  Nouri's responded by declaring that they can't vote in the provincial elections.   Alsumaria notes that Iraqiya MP Salman Jumail declares that Nouri is doing this to isolate the two provinces and in an attempt to ensure that only his allies win in the elections.  Iraqiya came in first in the 2010 parliamentary elections, besting Nouri's State of Law.  NINA quotes Jumaili stating, "The postponement of the elections is used for political purposes, to ensure that the prime minister's allies get the required seats of the provincial council."

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