Protests spread to Iraq —but not Syria (yet)

Hundreds of protesters marched in cities around Iraq Feb. 4, inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the region. The government’s failure to provide basic services topped the list of grievances, with complaints of food, water and power shortages. The biggest demonstration took place in al-Hamza, a poor town Shi’ite town south of Baghdad, where marchers were estimated by authorities at over 1,000. (CNN, Feb. 3)

Anticipated protests in Syria failed to materialize, despite an online campaign calling for a “day of rage” on Feb. 4. On the night before, security services drove through Damascus honking horns and waving Syrian flags in support of the regime, controlling public space in an effort to pre-empt protests. The central Merjah Square was occupied by police. More than 15,000 people have signed up to a Facebook page titled “Syria Revolution 2011,” but many are presumably outside Syria. (Irish Times, Feb. 5)

See our last posts on Iraq’s civil resistance and the new Arab uprisings.

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