Iraq protest update: Security forces kill one, wound hundreds of protesters


Police officials and a semi-official human rights commission said November 02 anti-government protest in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and southern parts of the country has resulted in the death of one protestor and wounding of more than 200 in a violent dispersal by the country’s security forces that fired tear gas and live ammunition into the crowd.

The largest protest took place in the capital, where tens of thousands of people gathered in and near a central square in defiance of a government crackdown that killed dozens over the past month.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been protesting, mostly in Baghdad and southern regions, since last month, demanding sweeping change to the political system which they blame for widespread corruption, high unemployment and poor public services.

In the southern town of Umm Qasr, clashes between security forces and protesters injured 120 people, according to Iraq’s semi-official human rights commission.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said security forces fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse hundreds of protesters near the vital Umm Qasr port on the Persian Gulf on Saturday morning. The commission said many of the wounded were being treated in a hospital in the town.

In Baghdad, security forces fired tear gas at protesters who tried to cross the bridges over the Tigris River leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone that is home to the Iraqi government and several other embassies, including the U.S. mission.

One protester was killed and at least 88 were wounded, according to police and medical officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The week’s long protests in Iraq and similar demonstrations in Lebanon have been fuelled by local grievances and mainly directed at the political elite. (Source: Mainichi Japan)