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Protester dies as Iraq security forces clash with anti-government demonstrators

More than 300 people have been killed since early October [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2019

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Iraqis have been demonstrating since early October against endemic corruption and economic mismanagement.
Iraqi officials say one protester has died and 12 more have been wounded amid ongoing clashes in central Baghdad.

The protester died when security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds in Rasheed Street on Saturday, security and medical officials said.

It was the latest day of violence in over a month of protests that have left more than 300 people dead. Officials have not kept a death toll since the demonstrations erupted in early October and figures vary, but AFP puts the number of dead as high as 350.

The face-off between protesters and security forces on Saturday has been focused on Rasheed Street, near the strategic Ahrar Bridge over the river Tigris. Protesters have repeatedly occupied part of three bridges — Ahrar, Jumhuriya and Sinak — in a standoff with security forces.

The three bridges mark the approach to Baghdad's highly securitised Green Zone, the home of parliament, the prime minister's office, other government offices and foreign embassies.

Protesters have been trying to dismantle security barricades preventing them from crossing into the Green Zone.

Rights organisations have condemned the Iraqi security forces use of extreme force against the demonstrators, who have faced live fire and tear gas in protests in the capital and the country's south.

Four protesters were killed on Friday in Baghdad, two shot dead and two killed by tear gas canisters.

Security forces on Friday violently dispersed demonstrators in the southern city of Basra who had blocked access to the vital Umm Qasr port for a number of days.

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