Protests in Iraq Testimony from the frontline, Iranian passports found
Testimony of Mousa Rahmatallah, 28, a participant in the demonstrations in Baghdad:
Kareem Botane conducted the interview, MECRA edited it for clarity
The protesters are Iraqi young men from all over Iraq. It's call of 1st of October movement. It is based on the following things: Firstly, it is emphasing the rights and duties of each individual as a citizen. The former government didn't implement and fulfill their promises.
Now, our demand is to dissolve parliament and hold a new election after 60 days in accordance with article 94 of the Iraqi Constitution.
We are in another phase which is Iraqi sovereignty and the consequences of that. We have many demonstrators here who have bachelors and advanced degrees. We have a lot of graduates and they are without jobs. Based on our constitution it says the government should provide and create opportunity, jobs and wealth to citizens. Also article 30 says people should be provided with residency and an appropriate place to live in. Most of the people here with us they don't have a place - some of them built houses without permits and the government came and destroyed them.
But corrupt people are taking land and properties and passing on to brokers or any business to make profit from it. All these realities made people like us come out and protest.
The Government didn't attempt dialogue with us - instead they are killing young people who are asking for simple rights. In the last three and four days, the demonstrations have continued for around 34 -40 hours sometimes. Yesterday, in Baghdad the demonstration continued for 24 hours.
Now, the government has changed its tactics, withdrawing its forces and bringing in other forces that belong to certain militias of Hash Al Shaabi
Now, the government has changed its tactics, withdrawing its forces and bringing in other forces that belong to certain militias of Hash Al Shaabi - Khorasani , and Alnujaba (pro-Iranian militias). According to information I got from emergency forces and police, they started with 300 person and these were deployed at the top of buildings - they were all snipers.
So , we came in early morning at 08:00 am and after we got close to the buildings the snipers started attacking us. They killed and injured many of us near to Mahamad Qasim. Then we withdrew from there to Sheikh Omar area so we could avoid sniper fire and shots. Young people were able to arrest one of them - he turned out to be one of the Hashd al Sha'abi of the Khurasani militia, and he had orders to suppress the demonstration.
According to article 130 of the Constitution, the right to demonstrate is the right of any citizen. But, the government’s response to the demonstration was violence and bloodshed. After they killed and shot at us, we withdrew from Shaikh Omar to Mahamad Qasim are. We were followed by military vehicles. After trying to run away, some people got stuck near the bridge and the military opened fire on them. I saw with my own eyes they killed two with shots to their head near the Mahamad Qasim Bridge and another two were injured. They took them away in cars.
we withdrew from there to Sheikh Omar area so we could avoid sniper fire and shots.
The problem was community and economic issues but it got bigger now.
Now, the main demand and calls from the demonstrations is they want the regime to fall. There is no coordination, there are no leaders, whatever is happening is spontaneous. All those on the ground came out to demand their rights.
There is a curfew but it changes from one place to another in Baghdad.
There is a curfew but it changes from one place to another in Baghdad. They asked all people that are close to Tahrir square to shut down their shops or any facilities located in this area.
Early one morning at 03:00 am they opened Al Jumhuriya Bridge to us and said we could go inside. After we went through Al Jumhouriya Bridge we were shocked and surprised because they opened fire on us with massive fire. We were trapped, with firing from all sides - explosions, tear gas, live bullets. It was an ambush between the bridges. I got injured from gas.
We will not negotiate with a corrupt government. We young people will continue inside Tahrir square until we get our rights.
Before yesterday I was near to the frontline in the front and I saw and heard people wearing Iraqi uniform who were speaking Farsi.
We will continue our protest but we will change our tactics, we will not enter crowded areas so people wont get hurt, We will go to public areas. The government is not thinking about a solution, but rather only how to suppress the demonstrations.
Kareem adds: ‘The snipers who targeted the Iraqi demonstrators in Baghdad, Nasiriya, and Diwaniya are among a group of snipers from ‘Unit 400’ responsible for assassinations outside the borders of Iran. Ktaib Hizballah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Khorasani, al-Nujaba, Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades and Lebanese Hizballah. Dozens of Iraqis were killed in Basra last year by headshots from their snipers.
Regarding the Iranian passports: ‘Iranian passports were found in one of the military vehicles that were supposed to be burnt by the riot police but the demonstrators reached the Hummer before the police had time to burn it.’