Worrying news from Iraq that four young leaders of the country’s recent waves of protests were arrested today and are being held in an undisclosed location. As students Ahmed Alaa al Baghdaddi, Moyaid Fasil al Taib and Ali Abdul-Khaliq, and worker activist Jihad Jalil – members of the 25 February protest movement – walked to join a peaceful mass protest in Tahrir Square in Baghdad this morning, plain clothes police in an ambulance seized them, beating them and threatening them with machine guns before taking them away.
The protests in Iraq have not been around regime change as in other countries in the region, but peaceful actions around the pace of reforms under the current elected government, the scale of unemployment in the country and charges of corruption at many levels of public life.
When tied in with the recent crack down on free trade unions operating in the country, this escalation in repression of peaceful protest bodes ill for civil society in Iraq. Non Arabic speakers like me are rather limited in government websites to email, but you can complain about this to the Iraqi Cabinet here.