Two Killed In Renewed Anti Government Protests In Iraq

Two Killed In Renewed Anti Government Protests In Iraq

 

 

At least two protesters have been killed in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, during renewed overnight demonstrations against corruption, unemployment and poor public services. The deaths reported on Monday by human

 

rights monitors and officials were the first during anti government rallies since Iraq's new Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi was sworn into office in May. Dozens of people were also wounded late on Sunday

 

 

after "plain clothed officials" opened fire using live ammunition towards the demonstrators who were gathered in Tahrir Square. The square has been the epicentre of a protest movement that erupted in

 

 

Iraqi demonstrators burn tires to block the road during a protest over poor public services in the holy city of Najaf

 

 

October last year but had died down in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Over the past few days, we have seen a surge in demonstrations taking place, not just in Baghdad but also in the southern provinces," "People are driven by the lack of services

 

 

and electricity, just as the country is going through a major heatwave,". Demonstrators on Sunday staged rallies in the capital and southern cities, where temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius 122 Fahrenheit  have overwhelmed electricity generators. In

 

 

Baghdad, dozens of protesters clashed with police and other security forces stationed in Tahrir Square. Since taking office after months of political deadlock, al Kadhimi had promised a dialogue with protesters and had requested comprehensive lists of all those who

 

 

have been killed and wounded throughout the months long protests in a bid to bring about accountability and compensation. In a statement overnight, his office acknowledged "unfortunate events" in protest squares, but insisted security forces had been instructed not to

 

 

use violence unless absolutely necessary. It said the government would carry out an investigation into Sunday's events to hold those responsible accountable. But online, activists were already comparing the new prime minister to his predecessor, Adel Abdul Mahdi,

 

 

who stepped down last year in the face of growing protests. Some 550 people were killed in that wave of rallies and another 30,000 wounded, many of them by military grade tear gas canisters that can pierce human skulls if fired directly rather than lobbed at an arc to

 

 

disperse crowds. An implosion of oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has also forced the government to impose austerity measures that have made it more difficult for people to get by in their daily lives, which could also give rise to renewed demonstrations. To date, oil rich Iraq has reported 110,032 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,362 related deaths.