While diminishing numbers of ‘anti-war’ protesters have taken to the streets this weekend to a fanfare from the media, in Iraq over the past week people have also been demonstrating against – well, all sorts of things.
Iraqi youths held a demonstration in Samawa calling for the reconstruction of the sport facilities in their city.
Sudanese workers in Iraq held protests against their mistreatment from authorities.
Kurds who were deported from Kirkuk during Saddam’s era took the streets demanding compensation and better services for the deportees.
Residents of the al-Wahda neighbourhood south of Baghdad protested against the lack of security that leaves them open to a multitude of attacks.
In Basra people protested against the prohibition of right hand drive cars.
Hundreds of Iraqis protested for greater security in Hillah.
Iraqis gathered to celebrate the second International Women’s Day since the fall of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad. The demonstrators demanded the withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq and the separation of government and church.
Iraqi security officers protested at the Ministry of Health in Baghdad against proposed salary cuts.
Students marched against religious thugs in Basra, southern Iraq.
Iraqis students protested at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in condemnation of the suicide attack that killed 125 people in Hillah, Iraq on February 28.
There certainly is no shortage of problems to protest about in Iraq. But despite all the difficulties in the country, the mistakes and indeed the crimes committed by the occupying forces, Iraqi workers, students and women are clearly free to protest and make their demands.
That wasn’t the case on February 15th, 2003 when people who enjoy such rights in liberal democracies marched to maintain a status quo in Iraq which denied any kind of free expression or assembly.