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Iraqi protesters clash with police

Iraqi protesters clash with police
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Iraq has been hit by mass protests for a second consecutive Friday.

In Baghdad, thousands took to the streets, angry over a shortage of jobs, corruption and poor basic services, such as water and electricity.

Unlike other Arab nations however, most protesters don’t appear to want to bring down the establishment.

What they do want is a better life.

‘‘We’re not seeking to change the government but want reforms, because we’re sons of Iraq and we are living in Iraq during difficult circumstances. The demonstrations are not aimed at any particular political leader,’‘ one protester said.

Along with Baghdad, there were also big rallies in the north and south of the country. In central Basra, some 700 protesters were forcibly removed by riot police using water cannon after they refused to stop demonstrating.

Last week, ten people were killed and scores injured during Friday protests. Many people remain frustrated with Iraq’s sectarian divisions and decentralised political system which concentrates power in the hands of a few.

Earlier, former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi and Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr held talks to discuss the protests. Last week, al-Sadr asked his supporters to give the government six months to try to address their demands.