(3 Nov 2019) Thousands of students skipped classes in Diwaniya on Sunday, taking the streets to participate in the ongoing anti-government demonstrations in Iraq.
The young protesters, most of them wearing white shirts, shouted ani-government slogans, calling for the resignation of the government and blaming the political elite for widespread corruption, high unemployment and poor public services.
The offices of at least two Iran-backed militias as well as a government building were torched in the southern province last week.
Security forces have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition at the protesters killing more than 250 in two waves of demonstrations since early October.
Iraq is governed by a sectarian political system that distributes power and high offices among the Shiite majority, Sunnis and Kurds. It holds regular elections, but they are dominated by sectarian religious parties, many of which have close ties to Iran. The political parties bicker over ministries and then hand out jobs to their supporters, contributing to a bloated public sector that is unable to provide reliable public services.
More than 15 years after the US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, Baghdad and other cities still see frequent power cuts, the tap water is undrinkable and public infrastructure is crumbling. Few Iraqis have seen any benefit from the country’s oil wealth, despite it being an OPEC member with the fourth largest proven reserves in the world.
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