After dozens of deaths in one day, protesters in Iraq are crumbling

After dozens of deaths in one day, protesters in Iraq are crumbling


After dozens of deaths in one day protesters in Iraq are crumblingBAGHDAD (Reuters) – Coordinators of popular protests in Iraq called on Saturday for an open sit-in in Baghdad and central and southern provinces, after dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured in demonstrations on Friday, and authorities announced a curfew in eight southern provinces.

The Reuters news agency quoted security sources as saying that at least forty people were killed yesterday when security forces confronted demonstrators who came out in new protests against corruption and poor living standards, after a previous wave two weeks ago left about 157 dead and more than 6,000 wounded.

Al-Jazeera correspondent Samer Yusuf from Tahrir Square in central Baghdad this morning that the demonstrations are still going on, and that the coordinators called for a sit-in in the square starting at 12 noon local time.

The correspondent added that the protesters erected tents in the middle of the square, without cutting traffic in the street.

Karim al-Shamli, one of the coordinators of the protests in Basra, told Anatolia news agency that the protesters decided to turn the demonstrations into an open sit-in after the authorities declared a curfew.

Yassin al-Maksousi, one of the coordinators in Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq, said the coordinators of the protests in all the rising provinces had agreed to turn the demonstrations into an open sit-in.

Security leadership statement
in the meantime, the leadership of the Iraqi Joint Operations today announced that it will deal with the killers of the demonstrators firmly and force according to the law against terrorism, it said in a statement that some “took advantage of these demonstrations and work on the killing of citizens, and injuring others and burning public and private and looting of property.”

At the same time, the leadership warned against “tampering with the security of citizens,” noting that “there will be strict measures against those who do not belong to peaceful demonstrators.”

On the other hand, the Iraqi Council of Representatives today held a special session to discuss the demands of the demonstrators and the decisions of the Council of Ministers and the implementation of reform packages.

The demonstrations renewed yesterday in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, to condemn the spread of corruption and deterioration of living conditions and demand political reforms, hours after a speech to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in which he talked about a new package of reforms.

In Baghdad, sirens sounded and tear gas grenades fell among groups of young protesters clutching the Iraqi flag and shouting: “Soul with blood, we will redeem you, Iraq.”

The Independent High Commission for Human Rights said 30 people were killed and 2,312 wounded in the protests yesterday in Baghdad and the cities of the center and south.

At least nine protesters were killed when members of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group guarding the group’s local headquarters in the city of Nasiriyah opened fire after protesters tried to burn it, Reuters quoted security sources as saying.

Police and the morgue sources said 12 protesters in the city of Diwaniya were killed when they were trapped in a building belonging to the Badr Brigade group, apparently torched by other protesters without any knowledge of others inside.

An intelligence officer and a member of Asaib Ahl al-Haq were killed in a clash with protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Amara, Reuters quoted security sources as saying.

From 8 pm local time, the authorities imposed a curfew until further notice in Basra, Muthanna, Wasit, Babil and Dhi Qar in the south of the country after protesters burned the offices of deputies and headquarters of political parties and armed groups.