Iraqi-Canadians hold rally at Manitoba Legislature
Published Saturday, January 26, 2013 6:07PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, January 26, 2013 6:21PM CST
More than a dozen Iraqi-Canadians held a rally at the Legislative Building on Saturday, calling for change in their homeland of Iraq.
Attacks by the military have increased against civilians in the Middle Eastern country. Civilians have been protesting against the government, which is accused of killing and jailing minority populations.
One of the demonstrators, Ali Al-Dulaimi, said he believes the country is a mess. “The people in power are too busy stealing money. People are getting taken to jail for no reason. There’s no government.”
Since late 2010, political and social change has swept through the Middle East as part of the Arab Spring. Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki was first elected in 2005, and won a second term in 2010. His government is accused of marginalizing the country's Sunni minority.
Another demonstrator, Ahmed Alaisa, says one of his cousins was taken to jail for no reason. He said, “We had to make a funeral for him because we had no idea where his whereabouts were.”
Ali Al-Dulaimi was a prisoner of war, and he knows the feeling of clashing with the Iraqi military all too well. He sought asylum in Canada in 1996. He says he was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. He says conditions haven't gotten any better since United States troops left Iraq a year ago.
“Things are supposed to get better. After ten years, things are getting worse and worse with that picture,” he said.
The men hope to change the situation by calling on Canadian leaders to put pressure on Iraq, just as they did with others in the height of the Arab Spring.
- with a report by CTV’s Rajeev Dhir