Sunday, October 27, 2019

Death Toll Rises As Govt Tries To Break Up Iraq Protests

(AP)

On the second day of renewed protests the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) made a concerted effort to break up the crowds. They were largely successful as there was little of the vandalism seen the day before. The death toll also continued to rise as a result.

The United Nations and Iraq Human Rights Commission reported more deaths of demonstrators. The first day there were 42 total, 12 in Diwaniya, 9 in Maysan, 9 in Dhi Qar, 8 in Baghdad, 3 in Basra and 1 in Muthanna. By October 26 that total rose to 70 with 15 in Dhi Qar, 14 in Maysan, 12 in Baghdad, 12 in Diwaniya, 7 in Basra, 5 in Basra, 4 in Babil and 1 in Muthanna. The real number could be higher. This was to be expected as the security forces claimed that people were exploiting the protests to destroy property and carry out sabotage. This is the type of rhetoric used to justify further repression.

The back and forth between the crowds and security forces continued into October 26. Baghdad saw the regular routine. First, people spent the night in Tahrir Square. The next day they made another attempt to cross the bridge into the Green Zone, but were turned back. The security forces then attempted to force all the people out of the square using tear gas. In Basra, the same thing happened. The ISF blocked people from approaching the government building in Basra city, broke up protesters, and carried out mass arrests. At the same time, demonstrations spread to Shatt al-Arab in southern Basra. In Nasiriya, the demonstrators went on the offensive burning down the houses of the first deputy governor and governor, and tried to go after an ayatollah and parliamentarian’s residences as well. The MP’s guards fired into the crowd killing three. There was an overnight sit in in Karbala as well. Things were peaceful there during the day as a curfew was in effect like the rest of the south, but at night people went to the Iranian consulate to protest against Tehran’s influence. In Maysan, Muthanna, and Najaf demonstrators were outside the provincial council buildings demanding that the administration resign. In Qadisiya, people tried to do the same, but were dispersed by the security forces. When the demonstrations started at the beginning of October, they quickly dissipate in the face of government violence. After the large number of deaths on October 25, there appeared to be fewer people out, and there was no activity in Babil. The number of people killed and wounded increases the level of frustration, but it also deters people as well. Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi has obviously given the okay to use all means to put an end to these disturbances. It is now a battle of wills over who can sustain themselves longer the street or the administration.

SOURCES

Abdul-Zahra, Qassim “Anti-government protests rate in Iraq, 7 killed,” Associated Press, 10/26/19

Agence France Presse, “Iraq forces clamp down on protests after bloodshed,” 10/26/19

BBC, “ Iraq protests: Fresh clashes leave five people dead,” 10/26/19

Al Forat, “Death toll in Maysan protests rises to 14, 10 injured,” 10/26/19

Ghafuri, Lawk, “Iraq security command says violent protests will be dealt with as ‘terrorists,’” Rudaw, 10/26/19

Al Hurra, “After fleeing .. Protesters spend the night in Tahrir Square in Baghdad,” 10/26/19
- “After night clashes between militias .. Baghdad sends security reinforcements to southern Iraq,” 10/26/19
- “Iraq .. Demonstrators killed in Nasiriyah and Baghdad,” 10/26/19
- “Protesters surround the Iranian consulate in Karbala .. And a video to raise the Iraqi flag,” 10/26/19

Al Masalah, “Khazali: Revenge for the Leader Wissam Al-Alawi with my neck and I will take him,” 10/26/19
- “Sit-ins in Karbala pictures,” 10/26/19

Al Mirbad, “Activists start an open sit-in in front of the Maysan governorate building to demand the dismissal of the government,” 10/26/19
- “Concrete put in front of the Basra government building,” 10/26/19
- “Concrete put in front of the Basra government building,” 10/26/19
- “Continued fire and tear gas in the air in Basra to disperse the rest of the demonstration amid tightened curfew,” 10/26/19
- “A demonstration begins in Tanuma east of Basra,” 10/26/19
- “A demonstration in the form of a youth march in Shatt al-Arab district,” 10/26/19
- “Demonstrations and sit-in in the Rumaitha district north of Muthanna,” 10/26/19
-  “Demonstrations continue in Sadrin Square in central Najaf,” 10/26/19
- “Eyewitness to al-Mirbad: Arrest campaign carried out by security forces in Basra against youth gatherings,” 10/26/19
- “Live fire and tear gas in Basra demonstrations,” 10/26/19
- “Najaf protesters sit in front of the provincial council building,” 10/26/19
- “Our correspondent: security forces fire into the air to disperse the demonstrators in Diwaniya,” 10/26/19
- “Preliminary information: News of the death of a demonstrators in Rumaitha from wounds sustained yesterday,” 10/26/19

Nasiriyah, “Eyewitnesses: Riot police deployed near al-Haboubi square in Nasiriyah,” 10/26/19
- “Eyewitnesses: Shooters break up protesters besieging a parliamentarian’s house in Shatra,” 10/26/19

NINA, “7 Demonstrators Martyred, More Than 300 Suffocated The Outcome Of Demonstrations In Basra,” 10/26/19
- “Demonstrations renewed in Karbala despite curfew,” 10/26/19
- “Hundreds of people gather in a demonstration in Diwaniya,” 10/26/19
- “A Number Of Demonstrators Injured While Attempting To Cross Al-Jumhuriya Bridge Again,” 10/26/19
- “Security forces prevent demonstrators from going to the local government headquarters in Basra,” 10/26/19

Shafaaq News, “More than 60 protesters killed and about 3,000 injured in Iraq,” 10/26/19

Al Sumaria, “The burning of the house of the First Deputy Governor of Dhi Qar in Nasiriya,” 10/26/19
- “Notables and elders of Nasiriya prevent attempts to burn the house of Mohammed Baqir Nasiri,” 10/26/19
- “Security forces arrest a number of demonstrators in central Basra,” 10/26/19
- “Security forces begin the process of breaking up the sit-in in Tahrir Square and pursue the demonstrators in the alleys’ 10/26/19
- “Set fire to the resident of the governor of Dhi Qar,” 10/26/19
- “Two killed and 15 wounded among demonstrators in Babylon,” 10/26/19

Tawfeeq, Mohammed, Alkhshail, Hamdi, Garcia, Jaide and Lewis, Aimee, “Death toll in Iraq protests climbs to 48 since Friday,” CNN, 10/26/19

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