Iraqi protesters, safety forces conflict in capital

Iraqi safety forces clashed with anti-government protesters close to the capital’s Tahrir Sq. on Saturday as anti-government rallies which have rocked Baghdad for a month value extra lives. 

The violence in Baghdad has been centred on two bridges linking Tahrir to the Inexperienced Zone on the west financial institution of the Tigris River the place most authorities buildings and overseas embassies are situated.

Riot police deployed alongside the bridges on Saturday fired tear gasoline to maintain again protesters, who’ve dug in to their positions behind their very own barricade.

One demonstrator was killed there in a single day, and one other died throughout the day on Saturday, medical sources confirmed to AFP.

Dozens extra had been wounded within the clashes.

The protests have developed since October 1 from rage over corruption and unemployment right into a wholesale condemnation of Iraq’s political and spiritual class.

The motion has swelled as college students, commerce unions and NGOs joined in.

On Saturday, almost 200 Iraqis with particular wants organised their very own small march in Baghdad to indicate help.

“Our rights have been missed for years due to corruption,” mentioned Muadh al-Kaabi, 30, a blind instructor who works in a particular wants faculty.

“There are 4 million folks with particular wants throughout Iraq — and the numbers are solely rising due to the wars we now have been by means of,” he advised AFP.

Iraq has suffered a long time of back-to-back conflicts, together with conflict with Iran, the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein and years of sectarian infighting.

– ‘Pretend reforms’ –

Since then, its political system has been gripped by clientelism, corruption and sectarianism, prompting protesters to name for the full “downfall of the regime.”

They’ve thus far been unimpressed by the federal government’s proposed reforms, together with early elections.

“We’ve been having elections for 16 years, and we’ve gotten nothing,” mentioned Haydar, 30, a protester in Tahrir.

One other activist, Mohammad, 22, mentioned the demonstrators mustn’t settle for such “pretend reforms”.

“Individuals are very conscious of what’s taking place: we’ve gotten to an necessary section and may’t lose all of it now,” he added.

Protesters have occupied Tahrir Sq. for greater than every week, repeatedly defying a military order to clear the streets between midnight and 6:00 am.

The navy on Saturday shortened that curfew to 2:00 am – 6:00 am, however many demonstrators deliberate to remain within the sq. in a single day.

Buildings across the sq. are blanketed with the banners of younger Iraqis who’ve died within the skirmishes with the riot police.

Over the previous month, greater than 250 folks have been killed and 1000’s extra wounded within the rallies.

The most recent official toll was offered on Wednesday, however medical sources mentioned a minimum of 9 demonstrators have been killed since.

Eight of them died round Tahrir, the place clashes between riot police and safety forces have escalated.

The ninth sufferer was killed by the safety guards of an area politician within the southern metropolis of Nasiriyah.

Rights group Amnesty Worldwide slammed Iraqi forces this week for utilizing two forms of military-grade tear gasoline canisters which have pierced protesters’ skulls and lungs.

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