Thursday 5 December 2019

Nine shot dead by Iraqi forces at rallies

Demonstrators gather during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo
Demonstrators gather during clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo

Sara Elizabeth Williams

Nine people were killed in rallies across Iraq yesterday after security forces opened fire on groups of largely unarmed people demonstrating against government corruption.

Six were killed in southern cities, as authorities sought to shut down growing protests by any means necessary.

Before dawn, three protesters were shot and at least 47 wounded by security forces in Nasiriyah, 300km south of the capital Baghdad. A fourth man who was shot in the head later succumbed to his injuries.

The deaths followed a night of chaos on Nasiyirah, Iraq's fourth-largest city, which included government offices being set alight and the evacuation of infants and children from a hospital after tear gas was unleashed.

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On the Arabian Gulf coast, three people were killed and around 50 wounded after security forces used live rounds on demonstrators blocking access to the southern port of Umm Qasr.

In the capital, Baghdad, two more protesters were killed after police used live fire to disperse demonstrators gathered in one of the main downtown thoroughfares. Yesterday's violence brought the number of deaths in the anti-government protests to 339. The demonstrations began in early October and have steadily grown.

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