Anti-government protesters burn down Iranian consulate
Security official says anti-government protesters have burned down the Iranian consulate in southern Iraq.Protesters torched the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf in the evening. One protester was killed and at least 35 people were wounded when police fired live ammunition to prevent them from entering the building, a police official said.
Tiba says she decided to boycott her university classes the moment she learned that her friend Amer had been killed during clashes with Iraqi security forces.
The pair first met in October in Tahrir Square, the capital'sfor anti-government demonstrations which have continued for two months. Amer told her that he was protesting on behalf of his brother, who had died in clashes with security forces. Days later, Tiba received news that her new friend had joined a growing list of Iraqi lives cut short during the protests.
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"When I saw his picture among the martyrs, I knew I had to do something for my country," said Tiba, a 23-year-old engineering student at Baghdad University. "The best thing I could do was go on strike," she added.
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A student who lost her home in a bushfire tells the Prime Minister climate change is a crisis, and she wants him to act like it is and take action, as students walk out of school in protest nationally.Shiann Broderick, 18, who lost her home in Nymboida in northern NSW, has gathered along with about 500 protesters outside Liberal Party headquarters in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo.
For two months, protesters have taken to the streets in Baghdad and towns and cities across the mostly Shia south to demand jobs, basic services and an end to corruption. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has since he grassroots movement wants a complete overhaul of the political system before new elections are held. More than 400 people have been killed and thousands of others wounded in clashes with security forces.and now leads a caretaker government with limited powers, but t
Since October 25, university and school students across Baghdad and’s south have defied the government and gone on strike to support protesters' demands.
The students believe the walkout is a potent tool to pressure politicians to act on the protesters' demands.
"If we keep it up, the government will have to respond," says Tiba. "Our university campuses have been literally empty for weeks. This can’t go on forever."
Iraqi prime minister says he will resign - statement
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Friday he would offer his resignation to parliament to allow lawmakers to choose a new government, in a move that follows weeks of violent anti-government protests. Abdul Mahdi's decision came in response to a call for a change of leadership on Friday by Iraq's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, his office said in a statement."In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand (to accept) my resignation from the leadership of the current government," said the statement, signed by Abdul Mahdi.
For Hussein, an 18-year-old medical student at the University of Mustansiriya, taking part in the protests is his only hope for a better future.
"There are barely any jobs out there, even if you’re a university graduate," he told Al Jazeera. "So, what’s the point of going to class now and then being unemployed a few years later."
Instead of attending university, Hussein helps organise weekly rallies at the ministry of education, attends the protests at Tahrir Square and participates in campaigns to encourage the sale of local products.
"We do everything from cleaning the streets and painting the walls in Tahrir to holding protests at our university gates to encourage people to join in," he said, adding that the strikes would continue despite the prime minister's decision to step down.
"Abdul Mahdi's resignation means nothing. He's just a tool in the hands of the corrupt political parties," said Hussein.
"We're continuing our strike until the electoral law changes. Unless that happens, our main ask for a complete overhaul of the political system can't be achieved."
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A Bangladeshi court on Sunday sentenced three transport workers to life for a road crash last year that killed two students and triggered major anti-government protests. Hundreds of thousands of students across the country took to the streets after the two teenagers were hit by an out-of-control bus that had been illegally racing through the streets of Dhaka in July 2018.
While university students say the ministry of education has done little to force them back to classes, university professors say strong measures have been taken against faculty members who choose to go on strike.
According to Fayez Abdel Hamid, who teaches medicine at the University of Baghdad, Iraq’s public universities received communication from the ministry of education to ensure staff were attending their jobs.
"Deans were given orders to pass on the names of professors who have been on strike and to deduct money from their salaries as punishment," he said.
Zaid Shafik, an IT professor at al-Nahrain University, says while he has been forced by his university to prove his attendance, he continues to join the protests.
"After I sign the register in the morning, I head to Tahrir with the students," he told Al Jazeera. "It’s our right to protest, and we’ll continue to do so no matter the measures taken against us."
Dhamiaa al-Rubaei, spokesperson for the ministry of education, said students and teachers had been given space to protest.
"We’ve only been encouraging students to attend classes for the sake of their own futures," she told Al Jazeera.
"With regards to lecturers, they have been mostly attending their classes even if some support students on strike."
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PM's exit likely to end his political career but not 'dysfunctional system' that brought him to power, analysts say.The 77-year-old announced on Friday his decision to step down after Iraq's top Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged lawmakers to withdraw support for the government over its handling of demonstrations in which some 400 people have been killed by security forces since early October.
University campuses in Baghdad and parts of southern Iraq have become empty as thousands of students continue to boycott classes and join protests in Tahrir Square instead [Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera]
Most of those boycotting classes have been university-level students but school teachers and students have also taken part.
After the Iraqi teachers’ syndicate called for a nationwide strike from October 28 to November 7 to mark the beginning of school walkouts, most schools in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces shut their doors, according to the syndicate’s secretary-general Odai Essawi.
"During the official strike, we saw 100 percent adherence at most schools across Baghdad and the south," he told Al Jazeera.
Essawi claimed that when the education ministry tried to end the strike by threatening to blame the syndicate for any measures it takes against striking teachers, the body fought back.
"We warned the ministry of education that we would stand up to it. Protesting and expressing our opinions are human rights," he told Al Jazeera.
Despite the challenges, Essawi says 50 to 75 percent of school students in Baghdad and the south were on partial strike or attended protests after school hours.
The ministry of higher education has warned that if university students continue to strike it may cancel spring break, while the army has warned it would detain administrators who keep schools shut as part of its fight against "terror".
The threat forced many schools to resume classes, while some set exam schedules in an attempt to force students to return to class.
Iraq's striking students defiant amid unrelenting protests
Despite pressure to return to classes, strikers say they will not stop until anti-gov't protesters' demands are met.The pair first met in October in Tahrir Square, the capital's main site for anti-government demonstrations which have continued for two months. Amer told her that he was protesting on behalf of his brother, who had died in clashes with security forces. Days later, Tiba received news that her new friend had joined a growing list of Iraqi lives cut short during the protests.
Omar al-Mukhtar High School in Baghdad, which took part in the strike for more than a week, officially resumed classes after security forces visited the school.
"The whole school, teachers and students, were on strike. Many of us would even go to Tahrir together," Abbas Tamimi, the school’s headteacher, told Al Jazeera.
"But intelligence staff threatened to take measures if we don’t resume classes," said Tamimi, adding that 80 percent of students attended classes after he set an exam schedule.Headteacher Abbas al-Tamimi says the government has taken measures against schools to ensure that teachers and students attend classes [Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera]
Ali, an 18-year-old student at the school told Al Jazeera that while he had not prepared for the exams, he decided to end his boycott to avoid possible repercussions.
"I boycotted classes for a whole month to show my support for those who died for us," Ali told Al Jazeera.
"But I had to come back when exams were set. I was worried my name would be sent to the ministry or that I’d be suspended from school altogether," he added.
Tamimi said that while he has to enforce some rules, he remains lenient towards students who don’t show up.
"We won’t take any measures against students who don’t attend. But people [from the intelligence] do come asking for the register, so we have to maintain some level of adherence," explained Tamimi.
"But as soon as we finish school hours, students and teachers go to Tahrir hand in hand," he added.
Iran Is Secretly Moving Missiles Into Iraq, U.S. Officials Say .
Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power, according to American intelligence and military officials. The buildup comes as the United States has rebuilt its military presence in the Middle East to counter emerging threats to American interests, including attacks on oil tankers and facilities that intelligence officials have blamed on Iran. Since May, the Trump administration has sent roughly 14,000 additional troops to the region, primarily to staff Navy ships and missile defence systems.