Protesters camp at abandoned building in Iraqi capital


An abandoned building, where once a Turkish restaurant was located, has become a meeting point for Iraqi protesters in Baghdad.

Its walls are painted with revolutionary slogans and pictures.

Anyone who enters the premises is searched and frisked by volunteers.

Some protesters have turned it into a temporary abode with tents erected inside the 14-floor building.

Meals are cooked thrice a day for the protesters by women volunteers.

Since early October, Iraq has seen mass popular protests against poor living conditions and corruption. The demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s government.

According to the Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, at least 335 Iraqis have been killed and around 15,000 have been injured since the protests began on Oct. 1.

‘Books are weapons’

On the second floor, a library has been set up where daily news from the protests is shared.

Muhammed Hatim, one of the organizers of the library, said: “We established the library and we are peaceful protesters trying to bring about a reformation. Our weapon is our books. We wanted to give a message: ‘Enough of your oppression, get out of the country’.”

Salam Abu Masuma, another protester, said they have painted the building with symbols and slogans of the protests.

“We would like to give a message that our protest is peaceful,” he said.

*Writing by Davut Demircan, Fahri Aksut
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