Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric says security forces must keep peace


8/11/2019 13:17:00
Print
     .

Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric on Friday urged security forces to avoid using excessive force to quell weeks of anti-government unrest as authorities grapple with the country’s biggest crisis in years.

 

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shi’ite-majority Iraq, urged the government to respond as quickly as possible to demonstrators’ demands.

 

“The biggest responsibility is on the security forces,” a representative of Sistani said in a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala.

 

“They must avoid using excessive force with peaceful protesters.”

 

Protests over lack of jobs and services broke out in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and quickly spread to southern provinces. Security forces began using live gunfire to disperse demonstrations almost immediately and have killed more than 260 people, according to police and medics.

 

The protesters, mostly unemployed youths, now demand an overhaul of the political system and ruling class which has dominated state institutions since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

 

Sistani also warned against the exploitation of the unrest by “internal and external” forces which he said sought to destabilize Iraq for their own goals. He did not elaborate.

 

 

PUKmedia / Reuters


 

Boochani: 'I Am Happy Because I Survived'


Friday- In some ways, the fact that Behrouz Boochani touched down in New Zealand on his way to a literary festival is unremarkable. His memoir, No Friend but the Mountains, won Australia's richest ...


»  A young Kurd sets himself on fire outside the UNHCR building
»  The Evening Post Kurdish Journalist receives the Ossietzky Award
 

Susan Rice: U.S. has ‘sold out the Kurds’ with Syria move


Susan Rice, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser in the Obama administration, joined Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour and discussed the Trump administration&rsquo...


»  INTERVIEW: Kurdish leader Ilham Ahmed on security in North and East Syria
»  A political analyst: The subject of the disappeared will be raised for electoral campaigns
 

Iraq protests death toll rises to 300 with nearly 15,000 injured


At least 301 people have been killed and nearly 15,000 have been injured in Iraq since the start of anti-government protests in October, the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IH...


»  Turkey-Syria offensive: What are ‘safe zones’ and do they work?
»  Poll: majority of Germans are with Turkey's exclusion from NATO

Caricature