Alwaght- Hundreds of people rallied in Iraq's Basra city on Saturday to express support for the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi.
According to Ruptly, Protesters carried banners depicting political figures as they marched down the streets of the relentless Southern city.
The oil-rich province of Basra has been hit by protests since amid economic hardships, high unemployment rates, and alleged corruption. But the public protests turned violent on 7 September after a group of masked assailants ransacked government and PMF buildings as well as offices of political parties and set fire to them.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, blamed the US consulate in Basra of being “behind the sabotage and arsons.”
Describing the situation in Basra as “unfortunate” and a “sign of an apparent government failure,” Muhandis said the US the US was exploiting the protests in Basra to undermine PMF-backed parties and keep Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in office.
The PMF commander said his organization has given evidence of the US consulate’s role in the violent unrest in Basra to government officials.
Denouncing the presence of some 8,000 American military forces in Iraq and Washington’s interference in the Arab country’s internal affairs, Muhandis said the US had threatened that Basra would be set ablaze if the current prime minister does not win a second term.
He further criticized Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for refusing to support the PM forces and accusing them of offering unreal statistics for people on the payroll, according to al-Ahed News.
Formed in 2014, the PMF - made up of mostly Shiite fighters - played a key role in pushing back the ISIS terrorist group, which wrested large tracts of Iraqi soil then.