Iraqis head to Jordan for Palestine solidarity protests at Israeli border

Iraqis head to Jordan for Palestine solidarity protests at Israeli border
2 min read
20 May, 2021
An organiser of the demonstration told Iraqi media that three coaches carrying 150 protesters from southern Iraq have arrived at the Jordanian border.
The solidarity march follows similar attempts by Jordanian and Lebanese pro-Palestine activists to cross their respective borders with Israel [AFP]

Hundreds of Iraqi demonstrators arrived at the Jordanian border late on Wednesday, hoping to protest Israel's violence against Palestinians at the Hashemite Kingdom's border with the occupied West Bank, The New Arab’s Arabic-language service reported.

Abbas Attiyeh, an organiser of the demonstration, told Iraqi media that three coaches carrying some 150 protesters set off to the Iraqi border with Jordan from the southern province of Dhi Qar.

Most of those involved are reportedly activists linked to Iraq’s anti-government protest movement, which mobilised in October 2019 to demand an end to endemic corruption and government incompetence.

A local Iraqi army official confirmed that protesters had assembled in a village near the Jordanian border to “send a message to the Israeli occupation”.

The official said there would be “no attempts” to cross the Jordan's own border with Israel. The New Arab has been unable to confirm whether the protesters managed to enter Jordan by the time of publication.

Dargham Majed, a prominent activist from the holy Shia city of Karbala, called on the Iraqi protesters to take the lead of their counterparts in Jordan and Lebanon, who have defiantly marched towards Israeli borders in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.

Read more: Jordanians march to border with Israel in show of support for Palestinians

Jordanian riot police blocked protesters from the kingdom before they could reach the demarcation line on Friday, firing teargas as around 500 tried to reach the Allenby bridge which leads into the occupied West Bank.

In Lebanon, five protesters were reportedly injured by Israeli forces who fired tear gas and smoke bombs as they tried to climb a border fence. On Friday, a Lebanese demonstrator was killed by Israeli fire during their crossing attempt.

In Iraq, solidarity with Palestinians was on display in full force in the capital on Saturday, as thousands of supporters of populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rallied to denounce Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.

In a statement last week, top cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who met with Pope Francis early this year during the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, called for “all free people to support and aid Palestinians to reclaim their stolen rights”.