Student Unions In Iraq Call For

Student Unions [in Iraq] Call for Withdrawal of Occupation Troops

Gilbert Achcar kindly sends along his translation of this newspaper article:

‘ Student Unions [in Iraq] Call for Withdrawal of Occupation Troops

Baghdad – Abdel-Wahed Tohmeh – Al-Hayat, June 24, 2005

11 Student Unions approved the call made on al-Jaafari’s Government to set a timetable for the withdrawal of multinational forces and considered that the request made [by the Government at the UN] for the extension of their presence is “an infringement on Parliament’s prerogatives.”

The 11 Unions issued yesterday a statement, of which Al-Hayat got a copy, supporting the members of the Independent National Bloc and other MPs [see the article by the same author dated June 20] and calling on “al-Jaafari’s Government, the United Nations and its Security Council to adopt these demands.” The statement also said: “We have taken part in the election and voted, risking our lives going to the polling stations, only for one essential issue that the electoral slates adopted and put in their political programs, and that is the demand for the withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq.”

The Unions called on the lists that won the election “to remain faithful to their promise and put their political programs into practise so that the people could respect them.” Their statement also called on the Government “not to adopt crucial decisions without referring to the representatives of the people in the National Assembly.” The statement also expressed bewilderment at “al-Jaafari’s and his Government’s support for maintaining occupation troops at a time when the US Congress is asking for their withdrawal.”

The statement was signed by the Student Unions at the Universities of Baghdad, Mustansariyya, Kufa, Qadissiyya, Basra, Diali, Ramadi, Mosul, the Technological University, the Islamic University and the Organism of Technical Education.
The president of the Student Union of the University of Baghdad, Mustafa Shabar, said that “the students of Iraq are resolute to get the Government and the National Assembly to abide by anti-occupation demands.”

Moreover, 18 students representing Iraq’s 18 governorates ended a sit-in at al-Firdous Square in the center of Baghdad, meant as a protest against the Government’s decision to extend the presence of multinational forces. Shabar said that “the choice of al-Firdous Square for our sit-in came as a result of the refusal of the Government to let the sit-in be held in front of the Parliament building.” Member of Parliament Falah Hassan Shneishel added that “a big rally will take place today at Kadhimiyya with the participation of tribes which came to Baghdad from all Iraqi governorates in support of the demand by the MPs to the Government to put a timetable for the withdrawal of occupation troops.” ‘

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