Anti-gov't protests continue in Iraq amid unrest

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/10/6 9:31:31

Photo: VCG

Hundreds of Iraqi people took to the streets of eastern Baghdad on Saturday as unrest entered its fifth day in Iraq, with security forces unleashing tear gas canisters and live ammunition to disperse them.

Angry demonstrators gathered near al-Nakheel Mall in Palestine Street to start a new protest, but the security forces fired live bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, sparking clashes and chaos at the scene, the source from Baghdad police told Xinhua.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, the situation was calm and life seemed to return to normal in Tahrir Square which witnessed the worst clashes during the past few days between the security forces and the protesters who wanted to cross the nearby bridge to reach the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the main offices of the Iraqi government and some foreign embassies.

In western Baghdad, no protests were reported and cautious calm prevailed, as many people gathered at fuel stations and markets after the government lifted the two-day curfew.

Earlier in the day, Ali al-Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), told Xinhua that death toll in four days of violent protests in Baghdad and Iraqi provinces climbed to 93 with 3,978 people wounded, including security members.

The IHCHR is an independent commission which is linked to the Iraqi parliament. It was established by UN agencies in Iraq in cooperation with the Iraqi government to promote and protect the rights of all Iraq's people according to international standards.

Since Tuesday, hundreds of Iraqis have been holding protests on the streets in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces. They voiced their anger that two years after defeating the extremist Islamic State militants, millions of people are still living in worsening conditions in the oil-rich country.

The protesters are demanding better living, job opportunities and basic services. They blame the deterioration on what they see widespread corruption and incompetence of the government.

Early on Friday morning, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called on the protesters to calm down.

In his televised speech, he said that "your demands for reforms and the fight against corruption have reached us," promising that his government would not make "empty promises."


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