Iraqi protesters set ablaze parliament office in Basra


Iraqi Protesters torched parliament offices in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Friday following days of inaction by the government on the assassinations of two activists.

Security forces fired live rounds in the air to disperse them while the protesters lobbed petrol bombs.

The wave of violence began when activist Tahseen Osama was assassinated last week, prompting street demonstrations lasting three days.

It was the most violent incident in Basra since mass anti-government demonstrations in October of last year when tens of thousands took to the streets.

On Wednesday, Activist Riham Yacoub, who had led several women’s marches in the past, was killed and three others wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car.

It was the third incident this week in which gunmen targeted an anti-government political activist.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sacked the Basra police and national security chiefs on Monday and ordered an investigation into the violence.

But protesters said this was not enough, decrying inaction by the Iraqi government over the two killings. They carried banners calling for the activists’ killers to be held accountable.

Kadhimi took office in April, becoming the third Iraqi head of government in a chaotic 10-week period that followed months of deadly protests in the country, which has been exhausted by decades of sanctions, war, corruption and economic challenges. (Source: The Straits Times)