Hundreds of Iraqi Communist Party supporters marched through Baghdad on Saturday to mark the July 14 revolution, when army officers overthrew the country’s monarchy and declared Iraq a republic.
The three-hour march, which included calls for the government to improve basic services, began at the national theatre and headed towards the party’s headquarters in central Baghdad amid a heavy security presence.
The demonstrators carried the flag symbolising the 1958 revolution, pictures of Abdul Karim Qassim, the Iraqi republic’s first prime minister, and banners calling for increased jobs opportunities and better services.
On July 14, 1958, Brigadier General Qassim led a coup overthrowing the monarchy that had ruled Iraq since the modern country was founded in 1921.
Unlike many Iraqi protests, which often see angry youths chanting anti-government slogs, Saturday’s Communist rally began with music and traditional dances and ended with poetry praising the revolution and Qassim.
“The 14th of July revolution will be in the hearts of Iraqis even after hundreds of years and the name of the leader Abdul Karim Qassim will be held high because he was honest and sacrificed himself for Iraqis,” said Jowada Abdulkadhim, a party member.