AL-Arabia – The Iraqi National Security Council authorized security forces to arrest those who blocked roads durig the protests, according to Al Arabiya sources.
Meanwhile, the Baghdad Operations Command confirmed its full commitment to the outgoing Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi’s directions in protecting peaceful demonstrators and securing the main demonstration square in Baghdad, Tahrir Square, and surrounding areas, the Iraqi Security Media Cell said on Twitter.
Protesters also blocked and set up tents on the main road between Baghdad and Nasiriyah, two of the biggest cities in the country, the Iraqi News Agency reported. The highway connecting al-Diwaniyah and other provinces has been closed too.
Iraqi protesters earlier in the day closed main roads in al-Wasit governorate’s city of Kut which borders Iran, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.
The UN Iraq Representative urged renewed push for reform and called for demonstrations to remain peaceful, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq tweeted.
The representative also urged the Iraqi authorities to do everything to protest the peaceful demonstrators. “Violent suppression of peaceful protesters is intolerable and must be avoided at all costs,” the statement published by UNAMI said.
Monday was the deadline for the government to meet the protesters’ demands, the most important of which are forming a temporary government, holding early elections, and investigating the death of protesters and kidnapping of activists.
Protesters closed roads and bridges on Sunday in several provinces, with reports of schools and government institutions closing as well, in preparation for the deadline of January 20.
Al Arabiya’s correspondent also reported heavy security forces presence in southern areas.Last Update: Monday, 20 January 2020 KSA 16:50 – GMT 13: