Kadhimi marks anniversary of October 25 protests with speech

Calling on demonstrators to remain peaceful
File Photo- Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (Photo Credit: Media Office of Iraqi Prime Minister /File)

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SULAIMANI — In a speech marking the first anniversary of the second wave of the October demonstrations, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday (October 24) called for protesters to remain peaceful, but stressed the importance of taking their demands seriously.

“We commemorate the 25th of October, to remind ourselves that the people have genuine rights, a clear voice, a courageous stance, and a vision, and that the ruler's job is to listen to the voice of his people,” Kadhimi said.

“We promised to launch a fact-finding system of the painful October events and we did, despite the suspicions of some bidders and sometimes the challenges of blackmailers,” he added.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has documented that 487 protesters were killed since October 1, 2019, mostly by the security forces or unidentified third groups. Thousands of others were wounded.

An initial round of protests demanding root-and-branch changes in Iraqi governance began on October 1 and lasted for a week. Organizers then called for a mass demonstration on October 25, which was heeded by thousands of mostly young people across the southern and central governorates.

The protesters were motivated by endemic unemployment, corruption, and political disaffection and decried foreign inference in Iraqi affairs.

In his speech, Kadhimi said that the government aims to reflect the will of the people and highlighted his commitment to holding early elections, a key demand of the demonstrators.

"The government's primary goal is to prepare for free, fair, and clean elections and we will adhere to the deadline for holding early elections. We are working to help the Electoral Commission complete its preparations,” he said.

As Kadhimi was speaking, demonstrators began to gather in Baghdad for protests and their own commemorations on Sunday.

(NRT Digital Media)