Iraq is the latest Middle Eastern country to see popular uprisings, after thousands took to Baghdad’s streets in a “day of rage”, similar to the recent protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, and Jordan. Other protests took place in Mosul, Hawja, Falluja and Kirkuk. At least five people have been reported killed, as the Iraqi military locked down the city and set up roadblocks. In Baghdad’s own Tahrir Square, hundreds of protests gathered to call for reform (not regime change), while soldiers took up positions around them. Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki urged civilians not to join the protesters, accusing them of being al Qaeda supporters and Saddam Hussein loyalists. The protesters say they are simply calling for political reform and better government services. “We don’t want to change the government, because we elected them,” a 24-year-old student told Agence France-Presse, “but we want them to get to work.”
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