A curfew was yesterday lifted in Baghdad following days of protests that have left nearly 100 dead, but tensions remained after firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demanded the government quit.
The largely spontaneous protests over chronic unemployment and poor public services that erupted in the capital on Tuesday have escalated into a broader movement demanding an end to official corruption and a change of government.
At least 93 people have been killed and nearly 4,000 wounded, as protests spread to cities across the south, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said.
Al-Sadr threw his weight behind the demonstrations on Friday with a call for the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.
His movement has the power and organization to bring large numbers of supporters onto the streets, but at the risk of alienating many of those who have taken to the streets in the past few days to express their rejection of all of Iraq’s feuding political factions.
Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammad al-Halbusi was due to convene a session of parliament later yesterday to discuss job creation and social welfare schemes, after he too extended a hand to the protesters, saying: “Your voice is being heard.”
In Baghdad yesterday, municipal workers were out and about cleaning up the rubbish burned by protesters.
Shoppers trickled back onto the streets to buy vegetables and other perishable goods the price of which has more than doubled since the deadly protests started.
With the daytime curfew in place since Thursday lifted, demonstrators began gathering near the emblematic Tahrir Square in the morning, although many main thoroughfares remained shut and an Internet blackout was still in force.
The mainly young, male protesters have insisted their movement is not linked to any party or religious establishment and have scoffed at recent overtures by politicians.
“These men don’t represent us. We don’t want parties anymore. We don’t want anyone to speak in our name,” said one protester late on Friday.
Abu Salah, a 70-year-old resident of Baghdad said that the streets would be full until Iraqis saw real change.
“If living conditions don’t improve, the protests will come back even worse,” he said.
‘GOOD SIGN’: Thanks to public efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases is on a downward trend, the minister of health said, but told people not to let their guard down The COVID-19 situation appears to be relatively stable and on a downward trend, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as he reported 185 domestic COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. “This seems to be a relatively good sign,” Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily news briefing. In Taipei and New Taipei City, the overall situation seems to be heading in a good direction, he added. He attributed it to public efforts to control the spread of the virus, but warned people against letting their guard down. Of the new local cases, 83 are males and
The EU is set to lift travel restrictions for US and Taiwanese residents as soon as this week, in the latest step toward a return to normal, despite concerns over the spread of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants. Portugal, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, proposed adding Taiwan, the US, Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and Serbia to a so-called “white list” of countries from which non-essential travel to the bloc is allowed, a diplomat familiar with the matter said. Assuming no objections, EU government envoys in Brussels would today approve the expanded
NO CONNECTION: Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said the CECC has linked no deaths so far to the AstraZeneca vaccine Eleven people in the nation have died after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, but the deaths should not deter older people with chronic health conditions from getting vaccinated. Nine of the deaths — people aged 65 to 97 — took place three hours to one day after the AstraZeneca vaccine was given, the center said, while eight of the 11 deaths were people aged 75 or older, most of whom had chronic health conditions. On Wednesday, the center said that 12 more people — seven women and five men aged 42 to 97 at
NEW BATCH: The ‘Liberty Times’ has reported that 240,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are to arrive in Taiwan today, following the first 150,000 doses that arrived in May The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 175 domestic cases of COVID-19 infection and 19 deaths. Of the local cases, 100 are male and 75 are female, with an onset of symptoms between June 3 and Wednesday, the center said. New Taipei City had the most local infections, with 87 cases, followed by Taipei with 34 cases, Miaoli County with 31, Hsinchu County with 10, Taoyuan with seven, and two each in Hualien County, Keelung and Taichung, it said. Of the 54 domestic cases reported outside Taipei and New Taipei City, 53 cases had known sources of infection, while one had an