Following are excerpts from a Jan. 12 release from the International Anti-Occupation Network on recent developments in Iraq against the regime that was put in power by the nine-year-long U.S. invasion and occupation. The full release is at brussellstribunal.org.
Massive protests have taken place every day in Ramadi since Dec. 25, when more than 200,000 people demonstrated. These protests have expanded further to cities all over the country, in which hundreds of thousands have participated. …
A key element of the current protests has been the slogan for national unity and an end to sectarianism, as well as the denunciation of the [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki regime’s inability to meet these popular demands. Change is inevitable!
The protests are supported nationwide. Several Iraqi cities have sent delegations to join the demonstrators in Ramadi. Shiite religious leaders have encouraged the faithful to support the protests and there is a strong presence of Kurdish delegations in Mosul, Tikrit and Anbar. Symbols of political parties are avoided as much as possible to reinforce the spirit of national unity. …
The withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq did not signify an end to occupation. The U.S. footprint is still heavy. Accordingly, the Iraqi anti-occupation movements are opposed to what they call “the second face of the occupation.” This implies continued resistance against all structures imposed by the U.S. …
Despite the violent repression of the security forces and the militias of the sectarian political parties, the Iraqi people have now gone beyond the frontier of fear. There is no turning back.
The International Occupation Network warns the international community, including the United Nations and the European Union, that there are serious indications that the regime is planning on attacking Anbar [Province]. …The risk of major bloodshed is imminent, a situation for which al-Maliki and the U.S. occupiers have been warned that they will bear full responsibility if the demonstrators are harmed.
In this situation it is … of vital importance that all peace-loving forces support what is taking place on the streets of Iraq.
The protesters are justly demanding:
1. The immediate release of detained protesters and dissident prisoners.
2 . A stop to the death penalty.
3. The approval of an amnesty law for innocent detainees.
4. The abolition of anti-terrorism laws (especially Clause 4 used to target them).
5. The repeal of unfair rulings against dissidents.
6. Fair opportunities for work based on professionalism.
7.The end of the use of all military command based on geographic areas.
8. The provision of essential services to all areas in Iraq neglected by the state.
9. The holding of all … governmental officials, army or security units who have committed crimes against dissidents accountable, especially those who have violated the honor of women in prisons.
10. A U.N.-sponsored population count.
11. An end to marginalization, a stop to agitating divisions between ethnic and religious groups, and a stop to the house raids without legal warrant based on the information of secret informers.
12. A stop to financial, administrative and legal corruption.
13. The combating of sectarianism in all its forms by returning religious buildings and all religious properties to their rightful owners, and the abolishment of law No. 19 of 2005.
The International Occupation Network (IAON) welcomes the spread of these non-sectarian protests and supports the efforts of the Iraqi people to regain their full independence and national sovereignty. Ten years of foreign occupation is enough! Ten years of massive human rights violations is enough! Ten years of corruption and depriving the whole population of basic services is enough!
— The International Anti-Occupation Network / IAON