Iraqi forces kill 4 anti-government protesters, injure 80 as demonstrations continue despite virus measures
Four Iraqi anti-government protesters have been killed and 80 injured, local medical sources told The New Arab’s Arabic language sister-site on Tuesday.
The youngest victim was a 13-year-old child, the source added.
Iraq remains mired in turmoil, with protesters calling for sweeping changes and a decisive end to the current system, imposed after the 2003 US occupation of the country, which marked the inception of a ruling system shaped by sectarian and religious division.
They reject the appointment of Prime Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, whom they see as part of the very elite they are trying to overthrow.
Security forces show have shown no signs of relenting in their latest crackdown against the movement, which has now entered its sixth month.
Sporadic protests continue to erupt in cities in southern and central regions of Iraq, despite measures banning public gatherings to combat the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus, which has so far claimed the lives of 7 Iraqis out of a total of 71 confirmed cases.
In the central city of Kut, security forces violently supressed protesters who blocked roads and burned tires overnight Wednesday, demanding the release of prisoners arrested a week earlier.
A similar story was reported in Baghdad, where riot police unleashed tear gas and rifle rounds on protesters in city’s Al-Khilani square, injuring at least 7, The New Arab report.
Live rounds from hunting rifles are one of most common causes of injuries sustained by nearly 18,000 protesters since anti-government demonstrations began in October.
600 have been killed in the bloody violence, according to Amnesty International, with large swathes subject to torture and abduction by security authorities.
Iraqi security officials on Wednesday reported that unidentified gunmen killed two anti-government activists, named as Abdel-Aaddous Qasim and Karrar Adil, in Maysan province, south of the country.
Read more: ‘They’re the virus’: Iraq coronavirus outbreak refuels anti-government protests
Activists accuse Iran-aligned armed militias as behind these incidents, something which they vehemently deny.
The country has been rocked by anti-government protests since October over poor living conditions and endemic corruption, forcing Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign.