Two Killed in Anti-Government Protests in Baghdad

  • The summer has become, in recent years, the traditional season of the demonstrations, mainly due to power cuts.
  • he two protesters who died were hit, according to doctors, by tear gas bombs; one on the head and one on the neck.
  • In October, last year, mass anti-government protests ensued in Baghdad and across Iraq’s predominately Shiite south.

Two protesters died after being hit by tear gas bombs during clashes with Iraqi security forces last night at Tahrir Square in Baghdad. These were the first deadly clashes recorded in the emblematic square of the Iraqi capital since the Mustafa al- Kazimi government came to power in early May.

The 2019-20 Iraqi protests are an ongoing series of protests that consisted of demonstrations, marches, sit-ins and civil disobedience. They started on 1 October 2019, a date which was set by civil activists on social media, spreading over the central and southern provinces of Iraq, to protest 16 years of corruption, unemployment and inefficient public services.

Human rights monitors and government officials reported on Monday that the tension between the irate demonstrators and the nation’s security forces increased after a section of the demonstrators cut off the road connecting Tayaran Square and Tahrir Square, the two main intersections in the city.

The demonstrators burned tires across the city and chanted slogans lamenting the frequent power cuts being witnessed therein in the scorching summer months. The square became the epicenter of an unprecedented uprising, which started in October. Since then, more than 550 people have been killed and 30,000 have been injured.

Several demonstrations were held on Sunday in Baghdad and other cities in the south of the country in protest against the country’s lack of electricity (or its supply for a few hours a day), at a time when temperatures exceed 50 degrees in Iraq.

The summer has become, in recent years, the traditional season of the demonstrations, mainly due to power cuts. Several ministers were dismissed to help calm the mood. The two protesters who died were hit, according to doctors, by tear gas bombs; one on the head and one on the neck.

Although the type of projectile used by the security forces was not specified, the episode recalled a controversy recorded in Iraq in the fall, when human rights defenders accused the police of using military-style grenades 10 times heavier than those used elsewhere in parts of the world to disperse protesters.

Mustafa Al-Kadhimi is an Iraqi civil servant and politician currently serving as the Prime Minister of Iraq since May 2020. He is also a former director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, originally appointed in June 2016.

Prime Minister Kazimi and his government undertook, in the first statements after the revolt, to investigate the deaths and the most violent episodes. However, today there has been a lot of criticism on social media accusing the new government of reproducing the repression of its predecessor.

Since the beginning of the year, rising tensions between Washington and Tehran, which almost led to an open conflict in Iraq, have eclipsed protests in the square. However, a few dozen protesters remain in tents set up in Tahrir Square, some of which were burned today, in the morning.

In October, last year, mass anti-government protests ensued in Baghdad and across Iraq’s predominately Shiite south as angry protesters took to the streets in their tens of thousands

The protests were led by the youths against the rampant corruption in the country’s government, electricity shortages, and unemployment. The protests compelled the then Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, to throw in the towel and resign.

His successor, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has promised to implement the demands through early elections as well as to investigate the killing of the protesters.

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Vincent otegno

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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