There were huge celebrations in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Friday evening after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said he would submit his resignation to Parliament, a day after more than 40 people were killed by security forces.
The resignation announcement also followed calls by Iraq's top Shiite cleric for lawmakers to withdraw support.
The protesters burnt an Iranian flag during the celebrations at Rasheed Street in central Baghdad and chanted anti-government slogans.
“The resignation of Abdul-Mahdi is not enough. We want all lawmakers to resign,” a protester said.
“Today the Iraqi people are happy because Adel Abdul-Mahdi has resigned but, we consider this as the first step. We demand the resignation of all lawmakers. We call on the judiciary to put them on trial immediately,” a protestor said.
Iraq’s prime minister announced Friday that he would submit his resignation to parliament, a step that carried uncertainty for the entire government and stirred fears of a possible political crisis.
The move by Adel Abdul-Mahdi came 13 months after he took office and followed calls by Iraq’s top Shiite cleric for lawmakers to withdraw support. At least four protesters were killed in the hours after the announcement in continuing violence in Baghdad and southern Iraq.
Word of the planned resignation triggered celebrations by anti-government protesters who have been camped out for nearly two months in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Young men and women broke into song and dance under the sparkle of fireworks crackling from every corner of the plaza, the epicenter of their leaderless protest movement, which seeks an end to sectarian government and election and anti-corruption reforms.
But amid the mirth, protesters said Abdul Mahdi’s decision was a single victory in the long and difficult war aimed at dismantling the post-2003 political system, a common refrain among demonstrators.