Iraq deploys elite counter-terrorism force to end Baghdad protests
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday ordered the country’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service to deploy in the streets of the capital Baghdad amid ongoing nationwide protests.
The move is meant to protect important state buildings as security forces work to control the violent protests, the elite Counter-Terrorism Service said in a statement.
“Counter-Terrorism Service forces have been deployed in some areas of Baghdad to protect state buildings from undisciplined elements taking advantage of security forces being busy with protecting protests and protesters,” the statement read.
Reuters quoted anonymous security sources in Iraq on Saturday, who said the elite forces had been informed to “use all necessary measures” to stop the demonstrations.
Protests across Iraq began calmly on Friday but quickly turned violent, eventually resulting in the death of over 40 people.
Friday’s chaos followed several days of calm after a week-long wave of deadly protests, which left at least 140 people dead and thousands more injured.
In the days following the first surge of protests, Abdul Mahdi attempted to calm demonstrators with promises of reform and a cabinet shuffle.
So far, such moves have failed to quell the anger of the public, which continues to call for a complete governmental overhaul amid shortages of public services, high rates of unemployment, and chronic institutional corruption.