Monday, 14 February 2011

Young people held a Valentine’s Day rally in Baghdad, to call on leaders to love the war-battered country rather than rob the resources of this oil rich nation. According to those participating, ”We do not want Valentine’s Day to be only one of love but a celebration for reform, citizenship and freedom”.

The protesters are determined to be part of a progressive change inside of Iraq, which according to the watchdog Transparency International, now has the fourth most corrupt regime in the world. Even the head of Iraq's own anti-corruption body told AFP last week, that ministers prefer to hide corruption because they view each ministry “as a family concern and prevent others from fighting against it".

Meanwhile Iraq has also witnessed protests in the wake of the Arab revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, with ordinary Iraqis demanding improvements to basic services such as clean water and a functioning electricity supply. Last week also saw Iraqi lawyers protest the government, in a call for an end to judicial corruption and prisoner abuse, while one man set himself on fire in protest to the high levels of unemployment.

According to Iraq’s Valentines Day protesters, “Our salvation and the salvation of future generations will only come by ending the political system that is based on sectarian and ethnic lines, created by a foreign occupation, who in the Green Zone have proven to us day after day, that they did not come to serve Iraq, as they claim, but to serve in their own interests”.

The following pictures were taken at the protest.







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