Sonntag, 25.04.2021 / 22:01 Uhr

Nach Explosion in Corona Hospital Unruhen in Bagdad

Thomas von der Osten-Sacken



In Bagdad sind mehr als 80 Menschen Explosionen von Sauerstofflaschen in einem Bagdader Corona-Krankenhaus zum Opfer gefallen. Überall im Irak kam es daraufhin zu Protesten und Demonstrationen:

Protests erupted in several Iraqi cities on Sunday evening in response to a massive hospital fire in Baghdad the previous night that many see as a result of the state’s corruption and mismanagement. 

Demonstrations took place in the provinces of Baghdad, Nasiriyah, Wasit, Babil, Karbala, Najaf, Muthanna and Basra in solidarity with the victims of the fire that ripped through Ibn al-Khatib Hospital on Saturday night. The incident, which has killed at least 82 people and injured another 110, has been widely blamed on the facility’s storage of oxygen cylinders.

 "What happened yesterday was a massacre, and it can happen in any hospital in any governorate in Iraq due to the dilapidated health system, so corrupt local governments must be dismissed first,” Najaf activist Saif al-Mansoori told Rudaw English on Sunday.

Iraq has witnessed a protest movement since October 2019, when citizens mostly in central and southern parts of the country took to the streets calling for improved government services and an end to government corruption. Protests have decreased in size and momentum with several coronavirus lockdowns and violent crackdowns.

Demonstrators in several Iraqi provinces have in recent months been calling for the dismissal of local governments. 

According to video footage sent to Rudaw English, the demonstrators raised Iraqi flags amid anti-government-corruption chants, demanding the dismissal of Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi, who was suspended Sunday.

"The protests in Wasit are continuing and will continue,” local activist Ammar Sattar told Rudaw English on the phone. “It is likely that there will be an escalation in the next few days, especially with the al-Khatib Hospital incident."