A+ A-

Iraqi cyber activists plan anti-gov''t protests Monday

BAGHDAD, March 7 (KUNA) -- Iraqi cyber activists plan demonstrations in the Iraqi capital on Monday on the first anniversary of post-liberation elections challenging legitimacy of the political leadership.
The activists have called for the public protests via the widely-viewed Internet sites, namely Twitter and Facebook, saying Monday would be "the day of repent" for participating in the elections, vowing to oust the current government. "We will uproot what have planted with our hands," one of the activists slogans said.
The youth are organized in new groups, named "Iraq without restrictions," "the free revolutionary forum," "no to silence," "we want the truth," "Baghdad won't be Qandahar," and the "blue revolution." They have urged citizens desiring to take part in the protests to paint their fingers red to symbolize regret for taking part in the elections.
The youth, mostly use the internet for organization and mobilization, like many of the politically active young people in other Arab countries nowadays, said they desired no violent clashes with the government security forces. And, the official government spokesman, Major General Ali Al-Dabbagh, said in a statement, broadcast by the semi-official television station, that Monday would be a regular day of work and that the government departments would not be shut.
Among the issues to be raised by the protesters would be the reported government clampdown on the local Communist party. Police had sealed off buildings housing offices of the left-wing party and its newspaper, "Sawt Al-Shaab" on the Baghdad street of Andalus, demanding that activists evacuate the offices in 24 hours.
Mufid Al-Jazaeri, a member of the party politburo, said the offices had been rented in a legal manner, and accused the government of Nouri Al-Maliki of being behind the action in retaliation for the party's role in organizing recent and planned protests against his leadership.
"If we establish that this issue is politicized, it will constitute a very alarming indication regarding the respect for the rights and the democratic freedoms," he said.
Sources familiar with the issue said President Jalal Al-Talabani tried to persuade the government to delay the evacuation of the buildings of the party, but the latter insisted that the government must give back headquarters, confiscated during the era of the ousted Baath regime of the executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
Similar action was taken another party, the Iraqi Umma Party of Methal Al-Allousi, who told KUNA that the government sought to punish its activists for taking part in recent demonstrations. He vowed that the party would take part in the Monday protest, saying, "It will certainly be the demonstration of the day of regret." (end) mhg.rk KUNA 070954 Mar 11NNNN