Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Iraqi forces gun down another 28 protesters

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces shot dead at least 28 protesters after demonstrators stormed and torched an Iranian consulate overnight, in what could mark a turning point in the uprising against the authorities.

At least 24 people died when troops opened fire on demonstrators who blocked a bridge in the southern city of Nassiriya before dawn on Thursday. Medical sources said dozens of others were wounded.

Four others were killed in the capital Baghdad, where security forces opened fire with live ammunition and rubber bullets against protesters near a bridge over the Tigris river.

The incidents marked one of the bloodiest days since the uprising began at the start of October, with anti-corruption demonstrations swelling by now into a revolt against authorities described by many demonstrators as “stooges of Tehran”.

In Najaf, a city of pilgrimage sites that serves as seat of Iraq’s powerful Shia clergy, the Iranian consulate was reduced to a charred ruin after it was stormed overnight. Protesters accused the Iraqi authorities of turning against their own people to defend Iran.

“All the riot police in Najaf and the security forces started shooting at us as if we were burning Iraq as a whole,” a protester who witnessed the burning of the consulate said.

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