ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Friday marked the eighth day of Iraqi demonstrations, and while in some parts of the country the protests were reportedly peaceful, others took a violent turn with one leading to the death of at least one person and another resulting in the arrest of no less than 120 people.
An official from the High Commission for Human Rights, a national parliamentary body, said late on Friday that protests in Dhi Qar province led to security forces arresting 120 demonstrators in alleged connections with the burning of tires on the streets.
In Baghdad, the security forces continued to fire tear gas canisters into crowds. One female demonstrator was reportedly killed when one such grenade directly struck her head—this has been one of the main causes of casualties as the canisters shatter the skulls of unprotected heads.
Photos of the capital’s Tahrir Square showed numerous people populating the area, seemingly the largest gathering of its kind in the square since protests began.
The parliament’s Human Rights Committee called on the government to immediately cease the use of tear gas canisters to disperse protests. Rubber bullets hitting the heads of demonstrators have also resulted in casualties.
Local media reported that two other people had been killed in Baghdad, but this could not immediately be confirmed. Thursday’s demonstrations, the parliamentary commission said then, had led to the deaths of six while 300 others had sustained injuries.
In Maysan province, the commission reported, locals held a peaceful protest, “calling for comprehensive and radical reforms, and fighting corruption and the corrupt.” It said in a separate statement that Babil province witnessed similar non-violent demonstrations.
October’s deadly and Iraqi-wide demonstrations – which saw two weeks of pause midway through the month – called for an end to the economic woes of the public and a complete governmental overhaul amid shortages of public services, high rates of unemployment, and chronic institutional corruption.
Upwards of 250 people have been killed during the protests.
Amid reported Iranian intervention, Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani on Friday rejected efforts by regional or international entities to counter the will and goals of demonstrations that have swept the country.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany