Iraqi Christians in protest

Baghdad: As per AsiaNews reporting, demonstrating is “a legitimate right of every Iraqi citizen and the Iraqi constitution guarantees this,” says Rihan Hanna Ayoub, a Christian MP — from the Kirkuk.

The government must pleasingly meet the demands of the people before the situation “gets out of control,” she told AsiaNews — speaking about the crackdown of anti-government protests by the police and security forces since 1st October — 2019.

The Chaldean Church responded to the crescendo of repression and abuses that left over 320 people — dead and thousands wounded mostly civilians with three days of fasting and prayer — for peace.

For the Christian lawmaker, protesting is “a legitimate right” provided that it is “peaceful and not characterized by chaos or violation on public or private property.”

As a member of the Council of Representatives (lower house of parliament) and as a delegate of the people, she is profound to see these demands met, especially because they are “real demands that the government should have fulfilled years ago.”

“Consequently, I call on the government to accelerate its investigation in order to bring things together before it gets out of control, especially after the demonstrators and some security forces were — badly hurt by the bad behavior of some people.”

Protesters have called for the fall of the country’s political leadership, blamed for the current — crisis situation.

In recent weeks, more and more protests have taken place in the capital and the —southern provinces.

People are annoyed over the difficult — economic situation despite the huge oil rent. Oil accounts in fact for roughly — 85-90 per cent of state revenue.

This year’s federal — budget should be around US billion in oil money based on projected exports of 3.88 million barrels – per day at a price of US – a barrel.

Rising oil production has boosted the Iraq’s economy, according to the World Bank; and the GDP is expected to grow by 4.6 per cent by the end of the year.

Though, the wealth rarely reaches the average Iraqi due to poor financial — management, inefficient bureaucracy and extensive corruption.

Such a crisis eventually triggered — protests. Initially, the authorities tolerated them but eventually, began cracking down with increasing violence.

Generally — unemployment is around 11 per cent with 22 per cent of the population living in poverty, according to World Bank estimates.

One third of Iraq’s youth are without jobs.

Yesterday, at least four people died and more than 50 were wounded when police charged a group of protesters in central Baghdad.

Certain young Christians have merged the protest movement, along with Muslims, under the same Iraqi flag.

This has enhanced a sense of national identity at the expense of ethnic and confessional divisions.

Yahya Wartan is in the thick of it in Tahrir Square, the heart of the protest.

He and a group of friends supply campaigners with basic necessities, like food and medicine, following the lead taken by the Chaldean patriarch at the end of October.

Regardless of the tear gas and sound bombs, team members hand out food, water, medicines, hygienic items and blankets, wearing a white T-shirt with the words ‘Assembly of young — Iraqi Christians’.

The reception, he told the Ankawa news agency, is “encouraging and has given us the impetus to continue.

We want to show that even young Iraqi Christians are present at this time.”


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