Iraqi activists eye political mainstream after protest movement crushed

By Charlotte Bruneau and Amina Ismail

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi lawyer Hussein al-Ghorabi said he left his hometown of Nassiriya four months ago after an armed group threatened him over his political activism.

Now, as he moves around Iraq, he is trying to set up a political party that he and some fellow activists hope will challenge those in power whom they accuse of corruption and ineptitude.

He is one of scores of people from Nassiriya, the city at the forefront of a mass anti-government uprising in 2019, who have fled after receiving threats.

“We want to change the political class. Protesters have been asking, what can be an alternative to existing political parties? So we started to discuss creating that alternative,” he said.

At least 500 protesters were killed during demonstrations which broke out in October, 2019, over jobs and poor services. Tens of thousands took to the streets calling for the overthrow of Iraq’s ruling elite.

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