A state of anxiety prevails among protesters and social media activists in Iraq after Sadr announced his withdrawal from the demonstrations.
“Fears of the crackdown”
The pioneers of the communication sites broadcast videos showing “the effects of the storming of the sit-in square in the city of Basra in southern Iraq.”
And the current sections of the flames showed rise from the tents of the protesters, and the youths were running in various directions screaming. According to press reports, a large number of them were arrested.
Iraqi activists on the communication sites say that a group of “shock forces” affiliated with “Hezbollah Brigades” raided the protesters and set fire to their tents.
Soon, Twitter and Facebook tags spread in solidarity with the protesters, and denounced the sit-in.
Those interacting with the # Basra_tagam markup described what happened as “treachery and betrayal”. Some also transmitted a video documenting a promise that a military officer had made to protesters in Basra to protect them before storming the sit-in.
The scene in Baghdad did not differ much, as the vicinity of Tahrir Square witnessed clashes between the security forces and the demonstrators, in which 6 people were killed and more than 50 wounded, according to Iraqi media.
Adel Al-Shaer, one of the protesters who were in the sit-in squares in Baghdad, describes what happened as “shameful” and “a resumption of the deadly violence campaigns against peaceful protesters.”
He continued: “In the late evening of Friday, January 24, there were hit-and-run operations between protesters and riot police who fired live bullets and burned tents, forcing many protesters to retreat.”
On the morning of today, Twitter activists shared videos showing protesters returning to sit-in squares and setting up new tents.
The chest pulls
These developments come in the wake of the withdrawal of Sadrists’ supporters from Tahrir Square, in response to a tweet posted by their leader on Twitter that blamed the demonstrators for “questioning his recent positions.”
The dispute between Sadr and the protest coordinators is due to his recent alignment with other Shiite factions close to Iran.
With the participation of these factions, Al-Sadr organized a massive demonstration in the center of the capital, Baghdad, to demand the departure of the American forces from Iraq.
What after the withdrawal of the chest?
The Iraqi tweets’ comments convey their concerns about the “negative repercussions” of the Ansar al-Sadr demonstration on the protest movement that has continued since October 1 last.
Many of them believe that the demonstration is in response to Iranian demands to “divert attention from protests rejecting government practices,” they said.
In this context, one of them commented, “The call to demonstrate against the American forces shuffled the papers and forced the protesters to limit their demands to change the Iraqi regime so that they would not be accused of treason. It appears that His Eminence had replaced Iran with the demonstrators.”
Al-Sadr had invited the demonstration three weeks after the killing of the Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy head of the PMF.
Iraqi demonstrators on social networks described his behavior as “derelict” and “enemy” against their demands.
The coordination committee of the demonstrations also accused the leader of the Sadrist movement of “riding the wave of the movement and using it to achieve a number of partisan gains and maintain political quotas,” as they said.
Accordingly, they released a tag called “# Muqtada_No_Profits_The Revolution”, in which they affirmed that “the withdrawal of the Sadrists will not deter them from continuing the protests, despite their fear that it will raise their exit from the” pace of repression. ”
Al-Sadr has been among the most prominent supporters of the protests in recent months, as he established a special squad known as the “Blue Hats” to protect the protest squares.
He also called earlier for the resignation of the government and the holding of early elections “under the supervision of the United Nations”.
On the other hand, the MP from the Alliance of Saireon, Ghayb al-Amiri, criticized Sadr’s political inclinations and stances towards the protests.
He said in a press statement that: “Everyone knows that Al-Sadr is an Iraqi, and his decision is Iraqi. Therefore, this suspicion is not in order.”
He continued that “his last tweet sent a strong message to the politicians and called on them to expedite the formation of an independent government during the coming period, otherwise he will announce his innocence from every politician.”
It is noteworthy that Iraq has been experiencing a constitutional vacuum since the end of the period granted to President Barham Saleh to appoint a candidate to head the government.
And the Iraqi blocs are still unable to agree on a figure who will succeed Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is heading the caretaker government after he resigned at the end of last November under street pressure.