Things turned violent on February 22. That’s when the police fired into the crowd after they tried to burn a government building. One was killed that day and another later passed due to their wounds. Anger boiled over the next day when protesters surrounded a group of police and stabbed four of them. Four demonstrators were shot and wounded that day as well. On February 25 a third activist was killed when police again opened fire on a crowd blocking the Al-Nasr Bridge in the center of Nasiriya. This has occurred despite Prime Minister Mustafa Kazemi ordering the security forces to not use live ammunition against demonstrators. His authorization of the crackdown of protests in the province in December pointed towards him wanting to shut down the demonstrations while claiming he still stood with them.
Protests have been going on in Nasiriya for months. The most recent were demanding that the perpetrators of the killers of activists be brought to justice, that attacks upon them be halted, and that Governor Nazim al-Waeli be dismissed. People have accused the governor of working with Hashd factions that have kidnapped and killed activists. He’s also reportedly been firing officials for not giving him payoffs. Demonstrators have congregated at Haboubi Square which has been at the center of activity in the province since they started last year. In December the Kazemi government closed down the protests there and launched a campaign of arrests and intimidation against activists.
Iraqis have been protesting for years against the post-03 political system while also demanding that it be expanded. On the one hand they want the corrupt politicians out of office. On the other they want the state to vastly increase public workers so that young people can be employed. That’s neither possible nor advisable as the economy is nearly bankrupt today because it can’t pay for all the public servants and pensions while oil prices have dropped. This is the irony of Iraq’s protest movement. They want to get rid of the elite who dish out state jobs in patronage networks and have the government simply give work to nearly everyone.
Ali, Sura, “Clashes continue in Nasiriyah as angry protesters denounce killings,” Rudaw, 2/23/21
Buratha News, “MP Abdul Amir Al-Taliban reveals that the governor of Dhi Qar dismissed a number of governorate officials because they did not pay him money,” 2/22/21
Al Hurra, “Iraq .. dead and wounded in Dhi Qar demonstrations,” 2/22/21
Al Masalah, “Demonstrators renew their demonstrations rejecting the targeting of activists in Nasiriya,” 2/12/21
Al Mirbad, “22 protesters and security personnel injured in the Dhi Qar events,” 2/23/21
- “Demonstration in Dhi Qar to demand the disclosure and trial of the protesters’ killers,” 2/16/21
Al Nasiriya, “Nasiriya: A protester was killed and 36 others wounded,” 2/25/21
- “Witnesses: Heavy shooting near Al-Nasr Bridge in the center of Nasiriya,” 2/25/21
NRT, “Protest In Dhi Qar, Demands For Dismissal Of Governor,” 2/22/21
Shafaaq News, “The death of a second protester in Nasiriya … and two injured in critical condition,” 2/22/21
- “A “horrific” development in Nasiriya … Demonstrators stab policemen with knives,” 2/23/21
Al Sumaria, “Despite the ban … renewed protest in Al-Haboubi Square (photos),” 2/19/21
- “Killed and wounded demonstrators and security in the events in Nasiriya,” 2/22/21
- “The protesters close the Nasr Bridge in the center of Nasiriya,” 2/25/21