Statement of the Political Bureau of the party issued on 21 July 2018
Yesterday (Friday 20th July) was a memorable day, a day of people’s fury, with diverse participation in demonstrations and protests. Squares and streets in Baghdad and the provinces were full of people in large numbers, chanting slogans that rejected the sectarian-ethnic quota system, corruption and violence against demonstrators. They demanded holding the corrupt to account, providing services and job opportunities, and steps along the path of change and reform.
The people came out to the streets expressing their concerns, suffering and demands, as they had done in previous days, and in previous years, looking forward to a speedy response, especially to the immediate demands that cannot be postponed any further. These include providing electricity and water in this hot summer, as well as taking concrete and serious measures to fulfil the just and legitimate demands which had been repeatedly ignored.
These demonstrations and protests are an expression of real need and suffering and of the bitter reality which cause citizens to bear all the risks involved in participating in them. Instead of being responsive and providing protection for these protests, the relevant authorities and the security forces dealt with the demonstrators with extreme cruelty in some cities and provinces.
What happened yesterday calls on us to reaffirm the condemnation and rejection of the use of violence of any kind, and to hold the government and the relevant ministries and bodies responsible for the deaths and injuries, and the continuation of prosecutions and arrests of activists and demonstrators. We also condemn the use once again of the infamous practice, which is legally and constitutionally rejected, of forcing the detainees to sign so-called pledges. In addition, the security forces used beatings, hot water cannons and tear gas to cause harm to the protesters. We call for an immediate end to all these condemned practices, the release of detainees, and the referral of officials responsible for issuing such orders to investigation and legal accountability.
We reiterate our full support for the just and legitimate demands of the citizens, expressed in peaceful ways and in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution that guarantees the right to protest and express opinion. The security forces should act in accordance with their duties that are stated in the Constitution. Public and private property, party offices and houses must not be violated.
The peaceful demonstrators have been sending important messages that must be read well. These point out that the situation cannot remain unchanged, and that things have gotten worse and can no longer be tolerated. This requires a profound recognition that reform has become an urgent need. The path and policy of running the country on the basis of sectarian-ethnic quotas must be abandoned, and a government of competent people, untainted by the quota system and corruption, must be formed, adopting a realistic program with a timetable for implementation. This is the message of the protestors who reject the corrupt and the failed, and are demanding services and jobs, and embarking along the path of real reform, leading to the establishment of a state based on the principle of citizenship and social justice.
It is the cry of the hungry, the deprived and those aspiring to a better Iraq that long-suffering Iraqis deserve.
21 July 2018