• Saturday, Feb 04, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Iraq: Days of escalating protests, bloody clashes

  • Published at 01:37 pm October 4th, 2019
Demonstrators gather at a protest during a curfew, three days after the nationwide anti-government protests turned violent, in Baghdad, Iraq October 4, 2019 Reuters

The UN calls on Iraq to rapidly and transparently investigate force used by riot police

Dozens of protesters wearing masks and carrying Iraqi flags gather in Baghdad from early in the morning, arriving in trucks and buses yesterday.

Large numbers of security forces are deployed to enforce the curfew, again blocking access to Tahrir Square.

In a much-anticipated midday sermon, Iraq's revered Shiite spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani endorses the protests and calls on the government to heed them "before it's too late."

The government "must do what it can to improve public services, find work for the unemployed, end clientelism, deal with the corruption issue and send those implicated in it to prison", Sistani says, listing some of the protesters' main grievances as the death toll since Tuesday reaches 36, including four police.

The UN calls on Iraq to rapidly and transparently investigate force used by riot police.

Anti-government protests in Iraq quickly escalated into deadly clashes, in the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi since he came to power in 2018.

Here is a recap of four days of unrest, in which dozens of people have been killed and hundreds wounded.

Spontaneous gatherings

On October 1, more than 1,000 people take to the streets in Baghdad and several cities in southern Iraq to protest corruption, unemployment and poor public services.

It is the first large protest faced by Mahdi's fragile government nearly a year into its term.

Unrest spreads

On October 2, protests multiply across southern Iraq, with thousands participating. In Baghdad, riot police attempt to disperse crowds in a half-dozen neighbourhoods by firing tear gas and live rounds.

Protesters try to reach Tahrir Square, but it is sealed off. They set fire to tyres and block main roads, while security forces seal off the Green Zone.

Battles in Baghdad

On October 3, major clashes occur as thousands of protesters defy the curfew to march in Baghdad and across the south.

In the capital, riot police and soldiers fire live rounds into the air and at the ground from automatic weapons mounted on military vehicles.

Crowds block streets and burn tyres in front of government offices in multiple cities, including Missan, Najaf, Basra, Wasit and Babylon.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail