Tahrir Square, bastion of the revolt in Baghdad, reopened to traffic

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The Iraqi authorities on Saturday reopened Tahrir Square and the al-Joumhouriya bridge in Baghdad, symbolically ending more than a year of protest in these emblematic places of the “October Revolution”.

Cars now circulate around the Tahrir roundabout where the tent village has disappeared, as do the concrete blocks that blocked the al-Joumhouriya bridge.

Tahrir Square and its immense Freedom Monument was the ultimate symbol of the movement that brought together hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in October 2019 and paralyzed the capital and all of southern Iraq for months.

The al-Joumhouriya bridge, which connects Tahrir to the Green Zone – a bunkerized district where Iraqi leaders and American diplomats live – was the embodiment of the violence that bloodied the revolt with nearly 600 dead, 30,000 wounded, the vast majority of them demonstrators.

It was on this work, blocked by concrete walls, that dozens of young demonstrators were killed and that the clashes were concentrated.

“The reopening of these places does not mean that the revolt is over, the demonstrators have lost a battle, but the movement continues and is now trying to constitute itself into political organizations”, assures AFP Kamal Jabar, one of the figures of the “October Revolution”.

The movement which calls for the departure of the political class, the end of corruption, jobs, and basic services, ran out of steam at the beginning of the year, first of all because of the surge in tensions between the enemies Iranian and American on Iraqi soil and then from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Containment and falling oil prices plunged Iraq into its worst economic crisis and doubled the poverty rate to 40%.

In this context, more and more voices demanded the reopening of Tahrir and the Al-Joumhouriya bridge to facilitate traffic in Baghdad (10 million inhabitants) and revive trade in the center of the second most populous capital in the world. Arab.

Prime Minister Moustafa al-Kazimi, appointed in May to get the country out of the political and economic slump, claims to be the “October revolution”, but he has still not initiated the reforms demanded by the protesters.

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