Hundreds of Iraqi widows, orphans demand better services

Baghdad – Hundreds of Iraqi widows and orphans protested in the northern city of Kirkuk on Thursday, demanding better social services.

‘There are over 10,000 widows and orphans in Kirkuk and they are not taken care of,’ said Sami Aziz, who works for the Goodness for Orphan Guardianship organisation.

The protest was called by groups that assist widows and orphans, Aziz said. Some protesters demanded that a portion of Kirkuk’s oil revenue be allocated towards educational centres and other support systems for orphans.

There have been a series of protests across Iraq, prompting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to cut his salary in half to help ‘reduce the gap in the living standards for the different classes.’

On February 25 a major rally called ‘Revolution of Iraqi Rage’ is scheduled to be held in Baghdad.

Some activists have called for the ouster of the government, which was formed in December after nine months of political stalemate.

The political unrest in Egypt, Yemen and Algeria has led to Iraqis taking to the streets, calling for more employment opportunities, reform and democracy.

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