Tens of Thousands Shia Demonstrate in Iraq Back Unity

Tens of Thousands Shia Demonstrate in Iraq Back Unity


Tens of thousands of government supporters demonstrated in many provinces in southern Iraq on Tuesday, opposing protests by hundreds of people in mainly Sunni provinces that have gone on for more than two weeks. 

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – The demonstrations highlight the country’s sectarian tensions.

The Shiite demonstrations took place in Basra, Diwaniyah, Karbala, Al-Muthana, Babil … provinces. Demonstrators carried banners reading, “Yes, yes to al-Maliki implementing the constitution” and “No to canceling accountability and justice law,” referring to Baathists and opposing protesters’ demands in some provinces like Anbar and Salaheddin.

Protesters chanted, “No to sectarianism, no to dividing Iraq, yes to national unity.” Some carried Iraqi flags and posters of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Others carried photographs of relatives who they said were killed in attacks by terrorist groups such as al Qaeda in Iraq.

Thousands of pro-government demonstrators took to the streets in Diwaniya province, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad. There, Shiite cleric Qassim al-Moussawi told the protesters that behind this crisis are “America and Israel” as well as “Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

“No to the return of the Baath party and their loyalists, no to the return of mass graves,” he shouted. “We reject dividing Iraq into three regions: Sunni, Shiite and Kurd.”

Al-Moussawi also called for a comprehensive dialogue among all political parties to achieve stability in Iraq.

The Shiite demonstrations came after ongoing demonstrations in some provinces inflamed by the arrest of several guards of Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi.

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