Protests in Iraq leave 110 dead, 6,000 wounded

Protests in Iraq leave 110 dead, 6,000 wounded
At least 15 people were killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Sunday night (October 6), the sixth day of unrest in which the death toll has now passed 110 and more than 6,000 have been wounded.

police and medical sources said.

The 15 were killed in the Sadr City residential district of the capital, where police backed by the armed forces used live round and tear gas on the crowd of demonstrators.

Police backed by the armed forces used live rounds. The demonstrators had taken to the streets hours after the government announced reforms to try to ease anger over corruption and unemployment.

Before the latest clashes in the Sadr City residential district of the capital, an Interior Ministry spokesman said 104 people had been killed, including eight members of the security forces, in the unrest since Tuesday.

He said 6,107 had been wounded, including more than 1,000 police and security forces, and dozens of buildings had been set ablaze, he added. But he denied the security forces had fired directly at the protesters.

Demonstrators took to the streets again Sunday— although in smaller numbers. Hundreds gathered on side streets near Sadr City, a Baghdad suburb, some four kilometers (2.5 miles) from Tahrir Square, which has been the destination of the weeklong rallies, although authorities have prevented protesters from reaching it.

A medical official in a local hospital and a security official said 12 protesters were killed and more than 50 others wounded as they repeatedly tried to break through a security cordon to head to the city center. The officials, who did not provide details, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Security forces have beefed up their presence in central Baghdad, deploying as far as Sadr City to seal off Tahrir Square.

Army troops blocked a main road Sunday to prevent the protesters from advancing, then fired on them to push them back. After about an hour, there was more intense gunfire, with soldiers firing over the heads of protesters as they tried to advance.

Ducking in reaction to the fire, some protesters piled over one another trying to hide behind the wall of a nearby water fountain. One protester carrying a drum chanted “peaceful, peaceful,” as others joined in. As the gunfire continued, protesters set tires on fire.

Some demonstrators arrived in rickshaws, which have been used to carry the wounded from the bloody clashes.

The UN envoy for Iraq appealed for an end to the violence and called for holding to account those responsible. “This must stop. I call on all parties to pause and reflect,” Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert tweeted Saturday night.

Based on Reuters, AP

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