ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said on Saturday that the nationwide protests had pressured political groups to bring about reforms but repeated a call for an end to demonstrations.
“The protests have helped and will help pressure political groups, the government…to reform and accept change,” Abdul Mahdi said in a statement his office released.
“However, continuing protests must allow for a return to normal life, which will lead to legitimate demands being met.”
Since they began in early October, widespread protests in Iraq have resulted in the deaths of at least 270, while some 12,000 have been injured.
Demonstrators are calling for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say fails to address their needs, but, rather, serves the interests of a small governing elite.
The protests over the past month reflect widespread dissatisfaction with the economy, including high levels of unemployment, the dismal state of public services, and widespread government corruption.
Last week, the Iraqi prime minister again called for an end to the nationwide protests, which he complained are affecting the country’s economy.
Demonstrators had used tires, stones, and metals to block the main entrances to ports and oil refineries.
However, Iraq’s Umm Qasr port was reopened on Saturday as operations resumed while Iraqi security forces regained control of three bridges in Baghdad.