What happened Friday 15 in Baghdad?

by BT & Iraqi Spring Media Center on 17-02-2013


The security forces took severe security procedures that were not proportionate to the event of a group of people coming together to pray, or for peaceful, un-armed protest.



                                                Baghdad, Patience

 

 

 

 

Last Friday, February 8, 2013 the organizers of the demonstration decided to hold the next collective prayer of February 15, 2013 in Baghdad, in the Adhamiya mosque of Abu Hanifa. From that point on the security forces took severe security procedures that were not proportionate to the event of  a group of people coming together to pray, or for peaceful, un-armed protest. The measures taken rather suggested Baghdad being invaded by an American or other country’s army. Namely, all Baghdad streets were occupied by an extremely heavy military presence, check points, and patrols. Any person in Adhamiya, for example, who came from another city, had to leave immediately or else risked being arrested. A huge campaign of house raids took place, aimed at finding citizens not domiciled in Baghdad, even visiting relatives. Needless to say any person not domiciled in Baghdad was not allowed to enter the capital under any conditions. Any car with a number plate not registered in Baghdad (specifically from Musol, Ramadi, and Salahddeen) was not allowed to enter either and this since a week before Friday 15. Even inside Baghdad any citizen who wanted to leave his district or street to go to a neighboring one for any reason, even for a family visit, would be asked why, when and what for? It is up to the soldier on the check point to decide to let the person go or not.

At the same time, an armed militia leader, Wathiq Al-Battat, the head of Hizbulla-Iraq (Al-Nahdha Al-Islamiya Party) called for the creation of sectarian "local armies" in each street and district of Baghdad, to "defend" them should the demonstrators or protestors get diverted from their "correct course by terrorists and Baathists" he said. This means he was actually threatening to attack the demonstrators and to start a civil war. He also threatened to do likewise should the government concede to the demonstrators’ demands of annulling article 4 of the Terrorism Act or the Debaathification law (Accountability and Justice).

For these reasons, and others, and to save Iraq from a bloodbath, the demonstrators decided to postpone the collective prayer in Baghdad, hence the name Baghdad, Patience.

However, many demonstrations and protests continued in different parts of Baghdad and also in different cities as has been the case for the last two months.

Photo report: Baghdad Al Meriya - February 15, 2003

 


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