Apr 16 2011
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Tahrir protesters: Maliki must go
The protesters amounting to over 100 people continued chanting anti-corruption slogans and demanded social justice, improved and more basic services and releasing the detainees as in the other displays since Feb.25.
Despite Baghdad Operations Command statement, the protesters gathered in Tahrir Square for two hours.
Said Al-Habubi from among the protesters told AKnews the Command's order "cannot stifle the voice of demanding freedom." He said they will continue gathering in the Square every Friday, disregarding any restrictions.
Baghdad Operations Command announced Wednesday it will not allow for any public demonstrations in Tahrir and Firdaws squares, following a demand from the shopkeepers and the vendors who work in those areas. Instead, it instructed the protesters to hold their assemblies in Rasafa and Karkh areas in Baghdad.
However, it seems Tahrir (Freedom) Square has assumed a symbolic connotation for the protesters that they have refused the replacements. It was public demonstrations in Tahrir Square in Egypt and Tunisia that manifested the power of the public.
Ahmed Abdul-Qadr from the Iraqi Youth Reform Movement told AKnews the siege of the security forces and the new order cannot prevent the route of protests.
"So far, Tahrir Square has been the symbol of freedom and patriotism where the poor could speak up," he said, "and it should remain thus."
AKnews reporter said in the 9th Friday protest since Feb.25, for the first time some protesters called on Maliki to resign.
Maliki took over office for the second successive term, despite great displeasure of some political blocs as well as public disaffection.
Ali Mohsen another protester told AKnews the security forces beat one of the protesters and then took him away.
AKnews was not able to independently verify the statement from the security officials.
Earlier Qasm Ata, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command told AKnews they will not allow for any gathering in Tahrir and Firdaws squares. "Legal action", he said, will be taken against the perpetrators.
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