ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least two protesters died and over 200 others were wounded on Tuesday after Iraqi security forces fired on demonstrators in Baghdad's central Tahrir Square in an attempt to crack down on mass protests.
Thousands of Iraqis stormed the streets to demonstrate against ongoing corruption by the federal government.
Initial reports indicated that three civilians were killed when protestors clashed with riot police. Local media reports said there were casualties on both sides.
Iraq’s Ministry of Health later confirmed that one civilian died and 286 others were injured. It added that at least 40 security forces were wounded during the clashes.
Reuters later reported that at least two civilians were killed.
Security forces have blocked all routes to Tahrir Square, using tear gas and water hoses to disperse the crowds. Riot police also reportedly used live ammunition against civilians.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, hundreds of activists and civilians filled the streets of both Dhi Qar and Al Diwaniyah governorates to demand better living conditions, adequate essential services, an end to unemployment, and efforts to fight political and economic corruption within governmental institutions.
Iraq has one of the world’s largest oil reserves and is the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
However, the embattled Middle Eastern nation continues to rank high on Transparency International’s list for corruption, fraud, and mismanagement of state institutions, some of the most significant challenges facing the country since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany