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Protests to be held across the globe against impunity for killing of Iraqi activists

Sunday, 18 July 2021 22:40

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi activists have organized rallies in over a dozen cities across the world on Sunday demanding an end to the impunity for those targeting activists and journalists of the 2019 protest movement.

The End Impunity in Iraq campaign’s team is holding rallies in 14 countries around the globe, including in the cities of Baghdad, London, and Paris, according to their social media pages.  

“We have been working on the campaign for three months,” a spokesperson for the campaign Zayed Al-Assad told Rudaw English on Sunday.

People were invited to join the rallies through social media, and it then developed into a campaign made up of Iraqis “inside and outside the country,” Assad added.

Protests broke out in central and southern Iraq in late 2019, calling for an end to corruption, unemployment, and the provision of basic services. In early 2020, Amnesty International published figures estimating that around 600 protesters and members of the security forces had been killed by then.

Sunday’s protests are only the campaign’s initial plans, Assadi said, noting that the protests will continue in different forms. 

The campaign focuses on putting the “international community and European and Western governments in front of their moral and legal responsibilities towards Iraq,” according to the spokesperson. “We demand the need to end impunity so we can live in this country in peace and security.”

48 incidents of attempted or targeted killings of protesters and critics were documented by The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) between October 1, 2019, and May 15, 2021. At least 32 died and 21 were injured as a result of assassinations, while 20 protesters who were abducted by militias remain missing.

Iranian-backed militias, including factions of the Popular Mobilization forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic), are widely blamed for the assasination attacks.

Activist and journalist Ali al-Mikdam went missing in Baghdad last week. He is a member of the campaign and participated in the October 2019 protest movement. He says he was tortured by his kidnappers and later released. 

The May assassination of prominent Karbala activist Ihab al-Wazni sparked outrage among activists, with many blaming Iran-backed militias for his death, calling for a boycott of the upcoming Iraqi elections. 

Source: Rudaw