Thousands of people in Iraq, including government employees, have staged a two-day walkout along with a hunger strike in protest at the Baghdad government’s inability to fight state corruption.
The strike was launched on Sunday in different governmental organizations in the Iraqi capital of Bagdad as well as Karbala, Najaf and other major cities, following a statement that had been issued by prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr two days earlier calling for the protest action.
Sadr has also called on all Iraqi people to go on hunger strike inside mosques, churches and other houses of worship, as well as in cultural and social institutions from September 9 until the morning of September 11.
Over the past few months, hundreds of Iraqis have been gathering at Tahrir (Liberation) Square in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and elsewhere in the country every Friday, urging the containment of corruption and also the formation of a technocrat government in the country.
The establishment of such a government has been stalled by persisting differences among various Iraqi political factions.
Baghdad witnessed uproarious protests in July, when demonstrators, mostly the supporters of Sadr, rallied against what was described as rampant corruption within the country’s ruling structure. A large number of people were killed or injured during the rallies.
Earlier in May, Sadr’s followers broke into the parliament compound inside the capital’s fortified Green Zone, protesting a stalled vote to endorse Abadi’s ministerial nominees in the chamber.
Later, however, they stormed Abadi’s own office building, also in the Green Zone, apparently in protest at government corruption.
On May 20, Abadi called on the nation to set aside political differences and unite against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which has been ravaging the country since June 2014.