IWJF took part in protests in Baghdad and the provinces on Friday 25th October to demand constitutional rights, change the government, and hold early elections.
The demonstrations in Baghdad and the provinces witnessed a large participation with tens of thousands, most of them young, people chanting in the name of Iraq, demanding punishment for the corrupt people and changing the government.
According to the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights , more than 2562 people were injured, in addition to 63 martyrs in all governorates, mostly demonstrators, as well as some security men, due to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. The demonstrations were accompanied by acts of violence on Friday evening in a number of central and southern provinces that led to the burning of 50 government buildings and party headquarters, in addition to the declaration of curfew in six Iraqi provinces.
The Forum observed in Tahrir Square a peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protests and slogans carried by the demonstrators. There was an absence of a unified leadership or regulatory body, and also noted the participation of a number of Iraqi female artists And there was weak participation of women because of the confusing security situation The activists were targeted directly during the demonstrations of the first of October, the Forum also monitored the Iraqi authorities prevented satellite channels from direct coverage of the demonstrations, and a number of reporters, including Alsumaria TV reporter Hisham Wassim was seriously injured.
Demonstrations in Baghdad expanded after midnight to include other areas on Karkh side, particularly in the Nisour Square area. Many citizens also began arriving in Tahrir Square in response to the demands of the demonstrators to deliver food and blankets after they announced their sit-in in the square and erected tents.
While the of Iraqi Women Journalists Forum praises the role of the security forces of the Interior Forces in rejecting cases of assault on demonstrators and providing assistance to the injured. The violence that happened used live ammunition in the first demonstrations, rubber bullets and tear gas in the second demonstrations, injuring thousands of demonstrators. It requires clear and professional investigations that are free from political considerations, publicize the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
The ministerial committee mandated to investigate attacks on the demonstrations since October1, 2019 came up with a report which did not reveal the truth of the violations and attacks that took place. It was very disappointing and remained vague in respecting the constitutional right to freedom of information, expression and demonstration, and not to target media institutions and journalists, and to respond to the demands of demonstrators to provide a decent living to the people.
It is noteworthy that the demonstrations began since the first of October in all Iraqi cities irrespective of regional affiliations and ideological and religious differences. Observers have called it the youth revolution fighting poverty, unemployment, corruption and lack of confidence in the current government and its ability to take realistic and meaningful reform measures. It is demanding radical reforms to ensure a decent life for Iraqi citizens.