Iraq: 42 killed, hundreds injured in protests

26th Oct 2019
Iraq: 42 killed, hundreds injured in protests

By Haydar Karaalp

 

BAGHDAD (AA):  At least 42 people were killed and more than 2,300 others injured in Iraq on Friday during anti-government protests that erupted near Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, according to Iraq’s rights commission.

In a statement, the Iraq High Commission for Human Rights said fatalities were caused after clashes between protesters and security forces.

The clashes also left 2,312 people wounded, including security forces, the majority of which were due to tear gas.

Eight demonstrators were killed in Baghdad, while nine deaths were reported in Dhi Qar, nine in Maysan, three in Basra, and one in al-Muthanna, the statement said. Eight people were killed in Amara city, including six protesters, one AAH member and one intelligence officer, according to police sources. Security sources re

In Diwaniya city, twelve protesters died after being trapped in a burning building, according to security sources and morgue officials.

The building, which housed the local offices of the Iran-backed Badr Organisation, was apparently torched by protesters unaware that others were already inside. Three protesters were killed in oil-rich Basra, one in Hilla, and one in Samawa. Nine protesters were killed in the city of Nasiriya.

According to security sources, Iraqi authorities imposed curfew in Basra, Wasit, Muthanna, Babil, Diwaniya, and Dhi Qar governorates.

Local sources said the Sadrist movement’s military wing, Saraya al-Salam, clashed with Asaib Ehlilhak Movement in Dhi Qar governote.

Heavy weapons were used during the clashes, the sources claimed, but no further detail was provided.

Meanwhile, demonstrators have started staging a sit-in by setting up tents in Tahrir Square in Baghdad.

The army’s Joint Operations Command warned against adopting harsh measures for those who exploit demonstrations by killing or injuring people, setting fire to state and private properties and looting them.

“We call on demonstrators to not to allow such people joining the protests,” it said in a statement.

Over the past month, Iraq witnessed mass anti-corruption protests which left hundreds dead. Successive Iraqi governments have failed to put an end to nepotism and corruption as the current government struggles to end the mismanagement of public funds.

According to the World Bank figures, Iraq has a high rate of youth unemployment around 25%. It is also ranked as the 12th most-corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo:  People gather at Tahrir Square to protest against unemployment, corruption and lack of public services in Baghdad, Iraq on October 25, 2019. Photographer Muhabiri Murtadha Sudani/AA]

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