PM: Protesters are out of step with Iraq's will

March 14, 2011 - 0:0

BAGHDAD (AP)– Iraq's prime minister on Saturday described protesters calling for a regime change as out of step with the will of the nascent democracy and brushed off his critics as few and weak.

In a defiant nighttime interview on state TV, Nouri al-Maliki also questioned if those who want him to go would prefer Iraq to return to the days of dictatorship.
The tone of his comments contrasted sharply with the lawmakers' tentative agreement just hours earlier to cut their monthly pay in half and reduce the salaries of the nation's top leaders, in hopes of appeasing protesters who accuse them of living in luxury at the expense of the poor.
“Those who call for regime change are limited in number; they are weak and voices of discord,” al-Maliki said in the hour-long interview that was recorded earlier.
“What do they want?” he asked, giving a list of references to deposed ruler Saddam Hussein: “Do they want the return of a dictatorship? Or the Revolutionary Command Council? Or a regime that marginalizes groups?” al-Maliki said. “We say clearly that who ask for the change of this regime are out of line with the will of the nation.”
Then he added that those who are calling for reform are making an “accepted demand.”