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Religious Leaders in Najaf Support Iraqi Protesters

Najaf’s influential religious authorities have come out in favor of the latest round of protests and their demands, and against the government crackdown.
Protesters demand that the pensions of parliamentarians be cancelled during a demonstration in Najaf, 160km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, August 31, 2013. REUTERS/Haider Ala (IRAQ - Tags - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT SOCIETY CIVIL UNREST) - RTX132E
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The Iraqi government has been facing huge challenges with the outburst of a public protests on Aug. 31 in several Iraqi cities. Consequently, the government had to take strict security measures to contain the movements, thus leading to the use of unjustified violence in Nasiriyah, Baghdad and other cities. These protests are considered the largest of their kind, compared to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 protests, which were subject to governmental crackdowns that left scores dead and wounded. The Najaf authorities had previously asked the government to respond to the public demands regarding the provision of services and security and the deterrence of general corruption in governmental institutions.

In previous protests and in the latest one as well, the Iraqi government resorted to religious authorities to issue fatwas that forbade participation in protests, under the pretext of tough conditions in the region and in Iraq specifically.

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