A large number of Iraqi took to the streets in nation’s capital and across the south Sunday to protest against Iran’s king-making influence as the latest deadline for choosing a new prime minister loomed.
The Anti-government rallies have been on in Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south since October 1, with demonstrators calling for a complete overhaul of a regime they deem corrupt, inefficient and overly beholden to Tehran.
“The revolution continues!” shouted one demonstrator at a protest encampment in central Diwaniyah.
Protesters blocked off public buildings one by one in the southern Iraqi city, and put up banners reading “The country is under construction please excuse the disruption”.
Sunday marks the latest deadline already pushed back twice by President Barham Saleh for parliament to choose a new premier to replace Adel Abdel Mahdi, who tendered his administration’s resignation last month.
Officials say Iran wants to install Qusay al-Suhail, who served as a higher education minister in the government of Abdel Mahdi.
“But this is exactly what we oppose — Iranian control over our country,” said 24-year-old student Houeida, speaking to AFP in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests which was once again abuzz with the youthful energy of thousands.
The protesters categorically reject Suhail’s candidacy, along with anyone from the wider political establishment that has been in place since dictator Saddam Hussein was deposed in 2003.
“Hundreds of martyrs have fallen and they are still not listening to our claims”, said 21-year-old student Mouataz, in Tahrir Square.
“We want a prime minister with integrity, but they bring back a corrupt man in their image who they will allow continuing robbing us,” he added.