Four Iraqi protesters killed, 50 wounded in renewed violent crackdown: report

Amid a fresh bout of violent crackdowns on protests, four demonstrators were killed and 50 others were wounded in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, Reuters sources said.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Amid a fresh bout of violent crackdowns on protests, four demonstrators were killed and 50 others were wounded in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, Reuters sources said.

This, along with other protests in southern cities, mark fresh tensions after two days of relative calm. Since their beginning on October 1, members of the security forces used severe measures to deter the demonstrations.

According to Reuters, the security forces used live ammunition, tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades to contain hundreds of protesters near their camps in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.

The security forces reportedly killed three people by directly firing tear gas canister at their heads. A fourth person died from wounds sustained by a stun grenade. Reuters wrote that at least fifty other protesters had been injured, including chokings due to tear gas.

Since they began in early October, widespread protests in Iraq have resulted in the deaths of at least 300, and some 15,000 have been injured, according to the Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR).

Amid ongoing worries by government officials about the implications of the country’s current unrest to the economy, social media pages, human rights organizations, and media reports continue to show the use of government violence to counter and deter protests in various parts of Iraq, especially the capital of Baghdad and the oil hub of Basra to the south.

Those who have taken to the streets and many other Iraqis complain of high levels of unemployment, the dismal state of infrastructure and basic public services, and widespread government corruption, widely perceived to be at the heart of it all. Demonstrators are calling for radical change in Iraq’s political system, which they say serves the interests of a small governing elite instead of the general population.

Editing by Nadia Riva