Iraq Demonstrations Death Toll Rises to 73

  • The death toll includes at least six policemen killed in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces in Baghdad.
  • Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi ordered the lifting of the curfew from 5:00 local time Saturday morning.
  • Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Iraqi government to resign Friday and hold early elections under the auspices of the United Nations. 

The death toll from the Iraqi protests that began on Tuesday rose to 73, most of them demonstrators, while about 3,000 were wounded, the parliamentary Human Rights Commission announced on Saturday. Demonstrations continued in the Iraqi provinces calling for improved living conditions and a stronger fight against corruption. After another bloody night, the government relented, and lifted a curfew.

Muqtada al-Sadr is an Iraqi Shia cleric, politician and militia leader. He is the leader of the Sadrist Movement and the leader of Saraya al-Salam, a Shia militia that is a reformation of the previous militia he led during the American occupation of Iraq, the Mahdi Army.

The death toll includes at least six policemen killed in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces in Baghdad and several areas in the south of the country, according to medical and police sources.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, ordered the lifting of the curfew from 5:00 local time Saturday morning, according to the Iraqi News Agency. The follow-up call in the Prime Minister’s Office said it was communicating with “influential parties” in the mass movement in six provinces, which it did not specify, and there was “an agreement to meet the legitimate demands,” without further details. Abdul-Mahdi announced a total curfew on vehicles and personnel in Baghdad on Wednesday night.

Al Sumaria reported Friday evening that the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, called on the Iraqi government to resign and hold early elections under the auspices of the United Nations. Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi said on Friday that his country needed a revolution to fight corruption and support the demands of the peaceful demonstrators. Al-Halbousi confirmed today his rejection of the armed clash that occurred in the demonstrations.

Mohamed al-Halbousi is an Iraqi politician who is currently the Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq since September 15, 2018. Previously he was the Governor of Al Anbar Province since August 29, 2017. He is a member of the Al-Hal alliance.

Baghdad witnessed sporadic demonstrations that started in Al-Zaafaraniya area, Al-Nidal Street and the outskirts of Sadr City. The protests then expanded to include Adhamiya neighborhoods, Canal Street, Diyala Bridge, Al-Khalani Square, Al-Nasiriyah, Al-Zaafaraniya, Tahrir Square, Aviation and then cutting Baghdad International Airport road Bayaa. This came after a bloody day that saw one dead and about 200 wounded on October 2. The death toll of the demonstrations on Tuesday rose to three, after the death of a demonstrator Wednesday from sustained wounds.

Internationally, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Jenin Hennes Blaschaert, expressed deep concern on about the violence that accompanied some demonstrations in Baghdad and other provinces, and called in a press statement for a “calm,” expressing deep regret for the deaths of protesters and security forces.

The prime minister’s first reaction, on Wednesday morning, was to instruct a “professional investigation immediately, to find out the causes of the incidents” at the demonstrations. Meanwhile, security and human rights committees in the House of Representatives opened an investigation into the events that accompanied the protests in which about a thousand demonstrators participated to denounce corruption and demand services and job opportunities.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.


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