Three killed as Iraqi forces fire on pro-militia protesters
At least three people were killed on Friday and dozens more were injured when Iraqi security forces fired on pro-militia protesters in and around Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.
The protesters were demonstrating against recent election results which gave political groups linked to pro-Iran militias, most of whom are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) militia coalition, a low number of seats in the new Iraqi parliament.
Iraqi media sources broadcast footage of injured pro-militia protesters on Friday, while eyewitnesses reported that security forces burned trees near the Green Zone to prevent protesters advancing, according to the Arabi 21 news website.
The Green Zone is a high security area housing the US embassy, Iraqi government offices and Iraq's High Election Commission.
#Iraq #Baghdad Protests by Shiite militias against the results of the elections are taking place across the country. Violent clashes between demonstrators and #Iraqi security forces near the #USA embassy in #GreenZone : there are two dead and at least 30 injured demonstrators. pic.twitter.com/rxzjM2fnBK— Donato Yaakov Secchi (@doyaksec) November 5, 2021
A security source told AFP that protesters had thrown projectiles and "blocked... access to the Green Zone" on three sides, before they were pushed back by security forces.
Iraq held parliamentary elections on October 10 and the Sairoon Alliance, led by Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, emerged as the largest party winning 73 seats in the 329 seat parliament.
Al-Sadr has previously had an ambivalent relationship with Iran.
By contrast the Fatah Alliance, which is linked to the pro-Iran militias, performed relatively poorly, winning only 17 seats, down from 48 in the previous parliament.
Following challenges to the results, Iraq’s High Election Commission has carried out hand recounts at various polling stations but this has not changed the overall picture.
This week the Election Commission announced that in 2000 stations, hand recounts had given the same results as initial machine counts.
The pro-Iran militias however, have vowed to escalate protests against the results, decrying them as a “fraud”.
Iraq’s parliamentary elections were originally scheduled to take place in 2022 but were brought forward as a concession to activists who organised protests against poverty and government corruption beginning in late 2019.
Anti-corruption activists have largely boycotted the election however.