Baghdad – Dozens of Iraqi protesters were wounded on Monday, in Baghdad and other cities, in clashes with security forces who were trying to clear blocked roads, security and medical sources said.
This is as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.
Reuter’s witnesses said that in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at the Police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protesters burned tyres and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara.
They said Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.
“The security forces should stop shooting and maiming; who are they and who we are? Both sides are Iraqis.
“So why are you killing your brothers?’’ a protester in Baghdad, who declined to give her name, said.
Baghdad Police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings’’.
Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, 2019, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty.
Over 450 people have been killed.
Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed recently as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a U.S.-Iran conflict, following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.
The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the U.S. (Reuters/NAN)