Iraqi security forces kill 2 protesters, injure over 20 in Baghdad

During ongoing anti-government protests in the Iraqi capital on Friday, Iraqi security forces reportedly killed at least one demonstrator and wounded close to 25 others while shooting tear gas canisters into crowds to prevent them from crossing a bridge over the Tigris River that leads toward the fortified Green Zone.
author_image Kurdistan 24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – During ongoing anti-government protests in the Iraqi capital on Friday, Iraqi security forces reportedly killed at least one demonstrator and wounded close to 25 others while shooting tear gas canisters into crowds to prevent them from crossing a bridge over the Tigris River that leads toward the fortified Green Zone.

“Saboteurs attacked the barricades in the Sinak Bridge area and security forces have been using non-lethal methods to stop them for hours,” Reuters quoted a government spokesman as saying. 

Reuters also cited medical sources who said that a tear gas canister struck the neck of one protester, killing him, and that roughly 25 others had been injured. The Associated Press reported that it had been told by a security official and witnesses that two protesters had been killed and 20 others wounded during clashes near the bridge.

Sinak Bridge, along with Jimhouriya Bridge, are located close to Tahrir Square, the central gathering space of demonstrators in Baghdad. Large numbers of riot police and other security forces regularly assemble near concrete barriers placed on the bridges during demonstrations to keep protesters from crossing them.

Crowds first took to the streets in early October to express long-held grievances about chronically inadequate public services, a low standard of living, and widespread institutional graft among government officials.

As the scope of the demonstrations grew with each passing week, participants ultimately insisted on widespread reform and the ouster of the entire ruling elite who they see as unashamedly corrupt. Recent violence has taken the shape of assassinations of activists and journalists covering the protests.

Read More: Iraqis mourn assassinated journalists covering protests

According to official statistics, unidentified gunmen have assassinated up to 30 activists, most of whom participated in the anti-government protests that erupted late last year to call for the ouster of Iraq’s ruling elite.

While the Iraqi government has taken responsibility for some of the killings, multiple credible allegations have been leveled at Iran-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) for many incidents involving dozens of deaths among protesters, many of which have also chanted against Tehran’s influence in Baghdad. 

Editing by John J. Catherine