Protesters attack Iranian consulate in Karbala as Iraq unrest escalates


Three people were shot dead and scores were wounded when protesters attacked the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala on the night of Sunday, November 03. The protesters, who demanded that Iran stop interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs, climbed the consulate’s walls.

Reports say the security forces opened fire, but another account said unknown gunmen were responsible.

There are also reports that security forces fired live rounds at protesters gathered in Baghdad on Monday.

Mass demonstrations against Iraq’s government have continued despite a plea from the prime minister.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called on the protesters to re-open roads and “help restore normality to the country” in remarks broadcast Sunday. He said the government respected peaceful protests, but that the blocking of roads around the capital and key ports in the south, combined with the “threatening of oil interests”, had cost the country billions and contributed to price rises.

President Barham Saleh said last week the prime minister was willing to resign once a replacement was found, and that a new election law was being drafted.

Dozens of people shouting “Karbala is free, Iran out, out!” took part in the protest outside the Iranian consulate.

Some protesters threw stones and burning objects over the high concrete walls surrounding the building. Three men scaled the walls and waved Iraqi flags.

Security forces fired live ammunition to disperse the protesters and several were shot, according to AFP news agency correspondents at the scene. The agency cites a medical official as saying that three protesters succumbed to their wounds.

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR), an official watchdog, said three protesters had been killed in a clash outside the consulate.

The IHCHR also reported that Saba al-Mahdawi, an activist and doctor who had been providing first aid at the protests in Baghdad, was abducted by unknown men on Saturday night. It called on the authorities to investigate her disappearance.

More than 250 people have been killed and 9,000 injured in clashes with security forces in two waves of protests since October 01. (Source: BBC)