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Iraqi officials bend to protesters' demands

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Mr. Nujaifi also said parliament would reopen corruption cases believed to have been closed for political reasons and thought responsible for siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds.

Anger over corruption, lack of jobs

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has already announced other measures, such as plans to cut his salary in half and to delay the purchase of American fighter jets in favor of more aid to the poor, on Tuesday took direct oversight of food rationing for the poor.

Since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which sparked international trade sanctions that lasted more than a decade, Iraqis have been entitled to basic foods such as rice and flour at almost no cost. The hugely expensive program, however, has been hampered by mismanagement and corruption and is a major focus of public anger.

But lack of jobs is also a key concern for Iraqis.

At a demonstration near one of the entrances to the Green Zone on Friday, an Iraqi Army general sent out to talk to the protesters and protected by a dozen soldiers stood behind barbed wire, while a group of Iraqi men poured out their complaints.

“You are our brothers,” said one of the young men to the soldiers. “We want those people inside to tell us where are the jobs.” The Army general, who had no name tag and would not give his name, was standing in the same area where young American soldiers faced crowds of Iraqis in 2003 demanding to talk to officials inside.

Approval granted for Friday protests

Mr. Zaidy, the head of Baghdad's provincial council, said the advance approval required for public demonstrations had been granted to protesters planning of what some organizers have termed a “Day of Rage" on Friday.

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