Sunday, April 21, 2024

Deadly protests hit Iraq

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BAGHDAD – At least two people have been killed in anti-government demonstrations in Iraq as thousands take to the street in cities across the country.
Inspired by protests in other countries such as Libya and Egypt, Iraqis are holding a “day of rage” against corruption and a lack of services.
Clashes in Hawija left at least two people dead. There were unconfirmed reports of deaths in other cities.
Large numbers have streamed into Baghdad’s Liberation Square.
Crowds of protesters carrying flags and banners chanted anti-government slogans as security forces were deployed in large numbers.
Protesters were forced to walk to the rally site after a vehicle ban was imposed.
“We are here for change to improve the situation of the country. The education system is bad. The health system is also bad. Services are going from bad to worse,” one protester, 27-year-old Lina Ali, told AFP.
‘Security reasons’
About 4,000 people protested outside a governor’s office in Iraq’s second city of Basra, knocking over concrete barriers and demanding the lawmaker resign.
Two people were killed and 20 wounded, including seven policemen, in clashes between protesters and security forces in the Iraq town of Hawija, police and the town’s city council chief said.
The demonstrations follow a wave of Arab revolts that have toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, and challenged the rule of Col Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged people not to join the protests for security reasons, and claimed the demonstrations were being organised by al-Qaeda insurgents and loyalists of Saddam Hussein. (BBC)

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