Thousands in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra gather to protest against what they call widespread corruption in the government. Yiming Woo reports.
Thousands in Baghdad's Tahrir Square demand corrupt officials be removed and put on trial. The protests come as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered reforms that eliminates layers of government and reopens corruption investigations. In the southern city of Basra, more than 5,000 people gathered in front of the governor's office to demand a solution to long-running problems like power cuts. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNNAMED PROTESTER, SAYING: "Since the local government in its two sections, the executive and legislative, didn't respond to our demands, now we're calling for the discharge of the governor. The provincial council of Basra and Abadi should form a temporary government until new elections. Protests and sit-ins are continuing, and I think in the coming days there will be things happening with bad consequences, there might be civil disobedience, an increase of protests, and that's not a good thing for Basra and the government in general." The governing system, set up under the U.S. occupation, included numerous overlapping senior posts, divided among Iraq's majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Muslims and Kurds. It's meant to reduce tensions by keeping the government inclusive. But protesters say it kept groups divided and encouraged corruption and incompetence.