40 killed, 2,000 injured as protests engulf Iraq
Date: 2019-10-26 10:50
At least 40 protesters were killed in Iraq on Friday (October 25) when security forces used tear gas and an Iranian-backed militia opened fire to try to quell renewed demonstrations against corruption and economic hardship, security sources said.
More than 2,000 people were injured nationwide, according to medical sources and the Iraqi High Commission on Human Rights (IHCHR), as demonstrators vented frustration at political elites they say have failed to improve their lives after years of conflict.
“All we want are four things: jobs, water, electricity, and safety. That’s all we want,” said 16-year-old Ali Mohammed who had covered his face with a T-shirt to avoid inhaling tear gas, as chaotic scenes overwhelmed Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square.
Sirens wailed and tear gas canisters landed amid groups of young protesters draped in Iraqi flags and chanting “with life and blood we defend you Iraq.”
On Friday, eight protesters were killed in Baghdad, the IHCHR said. At least five of them were protesters struck by tear gas canisters, security sources said.
In the south, at least nine protesters were killed when members of the Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) militia opened fire on protesters who tried to set fire to the group’s office in the city of Nasiriya, according to security sources.
Eight people were killed in Amara city, including six protesters, one AAH member and one intelligence officer, police sources said. Three protesters were killed in oil-rich Basra, one in Hilla, and one in Samawa, security sources said.
In Diwaniya city, twelve protesters died after being trapped in a burning building, morgue officials and police sources said.
Iraqi protesters in Kerbala city on Friday tore a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khalid al-Muhanna said at least 68 members of the security forces were injured.
The sometimes violent demonstrations erupted in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and spread to southern cities.
A government intelligence officer and a member of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia were killed in a clash with protesters in the southern city of Amara, police sources said.
The bloodshed is the second major bout of violence this month. A series of clashes two weeks ago between protesters and security forces left 157 people dead and over 6,000 wounded.
Based on Reuters