A large number of supporters of the Shiite factions flocked to Tahrir Square in the center of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, to participate in the commemoration of the first anniversary of the killing of the Iranian Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, in an American air strike near Baghdad airport early last year.
Since the early hours of the morning, the streets leading to Tahrir Square have witnessed the influx of hundreds of supporters of these factions to participate in the demonstration, which will be launched later this day, in light of tight security measures and a massive deployment of military, security and intelligence forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces.
According to sources close to the organizers of the demonstrations, the protesters will raise the slogan of removing US forces from Iraq.
The Iraqi authorities declared this day an official holiday, and the General Traffic Directorate closed roads and intersections leading to Tahrir Square and prevented the movement of cars there, and only allowed the arrival of the protesters, who are expected to raise pictures of the engineer and Soleimani, as well as banners and flags of Iraq and armed factions.
In a simulation of a funeral procession, dozens of people joined a march on the highway leading to Baghdad airport on Saturday evening, to commemorate the memorial. The marchers raised pictures of Soleimani and the engineer and lit candles, while others gathered around the area of the operation, where the effects of shrapnel were still visible on the asphalt and walls.
Plenty of time
This comes at a time when the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades said that “there is still time”, and that it will not enter the US embassy in Baghdad, stressing that it is not allowed to “tamper” with its weapons.
The Secretary General of the Brigades, Abu Hussein Al-Hamidawi, said in a press statement today that “our presence today in the field is a message of authorization, to hasten revenge, for our blood is still boiling.”
Al-Hamidawi added that there will be no storming of the US embassy today, and this government will not be overthrown, as there is still time.
“Our weapons are more controlled and organized than the most prestigious armies and military institutions throughout history, and it is the most legitimate and rational one, and it will remain in our hands until God wills, and we will not allow anyone – whoever he is – to tamper with this weapon that preserved the land and honor and preserved blood.”