World News – CA – Iraqi forces, protesters clash in Baghdad, wounded on both sides

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces clashed with anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Sunday with at least 39 people, most of them police officers, injured by projectiles thrown from each side, security officials said

Police sources say tear gas canisters fired by security forces injured at least seven people

A separate statement from an army spokesman said at least 32 members of the security forces were injured by hand grenades thrown by a group he said had been hiding among otherwise peaceful protesters, without giving further details

Politicians have expressed concern over the possibility of peaceful protests being hijacked by rioters, which could trigger a spiral of violence like that seen last year

New anti-government rallies converged on Sunday to mark one year since mass unrest over corruption and widespread deprivation in oil-rich Iraq More than 500 people have been killed in unrest

Threats, killings and kidnappings of activists, along with fatigue and lockdown restrictions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, calmed protests months earlier this year Protesters numbered in hundreds rather than thousands on Sunday

Earlier today, police fired water cannons and tear gas at protesters to prevent them from crossing barricades on a bridge leading to government buildings

« We will not stop protesting to claim our stolen rights We are the victims of corrupt governments, » said Najim Abdullah, a protester standing near the Jumhuriya Bridge in the capital

Security forces had deployed in force to control the protests that began in the morning and to prevent protesters from crossing the Jumhuriya Bridge, which leads to the walled green area that houses government buildings and foreign missions

Sunday’s protests were more subdued than last year’s protests where thousands gathered in Baghdad and the south, clashing with security forces and militiamen in clashes that mutilated and mostly young unemployed protesters killed

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who took office in May after his predecessor was ousted by last year’s unrest, has presented himself as a leader who supports the protesters

In a televised speech on Saturday, he pledged to hold early and fair elections, a demand from many pro-democracy activists, and said security forces would not harm any peaceful protesters this time around

Security forces and unidentified gunmen waged a fierce crackdown on anti-government unrest that erupted in October 2019, killing hundreds of mostly unarmed protesters with live ammunition and tear gas

Protesters accuse the entrenched ruling elite, especially Iran-backed parties and militias, of fueling an endemic graft that has kept large swathes of the country in ruins even in times of relative peace

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Atie in Basra; Writing by Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison in Baghdad; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Demonstration, Iraq, Baghdad

News from the world – CA – Iraqi forces, demonstrators clash in Baghdad, injured on both sides


SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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