Amnesty denounces the use of killer grenades by the police

In five days, at least five protesters have died because of these "cranberry" grenades. Since the beginning of the protest movement, on October 1, more than 250 people have been killed, including sniper fire.

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An anti-government protester fired a tear gas bomb fired by Iraqi security forces to disperse a protest in Baghdad on Wednesday (October 30th).
An anti-government protester fired a tear gas bomb fired by Iraqi security forces to disperse a protest in Baghdad on Wednesday (October 30th). Hadi Mizban / AP

Five protesters were killed in Baghdad by tear gas grenades "Skull-breaker" "Never seen before", Amnesty International reported on Thursday (October 31st), calling on Iraq to stop using these projectiles ten times heavier than the grenades usually used. Since the demonstrations claiming "The fall of the regime" resumed in Iraq a week ago, Tahrir Square in Baghdad, the epicenter of the movement, lives day and night in a cloud of tear gas.

In five days, according to Amnesty, at least five protesters were killed by grenades "Skull-breaker" drawn by the police. These grenades, manufactured in Serbia and Bulgaria, "Have never been seen before", says the non-governmental organization (NGO), saying that"They aim to kill and not to disperse" the protesters.

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Serbian and Bulgarian pomegranates

Videos shot by activists show men on the ground, the skull fractured by grenades as smoke escapes from their skull, nose and eyes. AI-authenticated medical imaging shows grenades that are fully embedded in the skull of killed demonstrators.

The tear gas canisters usually used by police around the world "Weigh between 25 and 50 grams", according to Amnesty, but those used in Baghdad "Weigh between 220 and 250 grams" and their strength is "Multiplied by ten" when they are fired.

A Baghdad doctor said he saw " for the first time " injuries caused by grenades of this type. On arrival at the hospital, "We know that the wounded were hit by grenades thanks to the smell. If they are still alive, we look for the wound to pull out the grenade ", he explained. "It's very clear that the impacts are direct," and not caused by the rebound of grenades fired on the ground, he continued.

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More than 250 people killed

The NGO quotes a doctor in a hospital near Tahrir Square who says he receives "Every day six to seven wounded in the head" by these projectiles. These deaths occur when, according to an official report, more than 250 people have been killed in demonstrations and violence in Iraq since 1st October.

During the first episode of demonstrations, fromst as of 6 October, 70% of the dead had been hit on the head or chest by sniper fire, which the state still claims to be unable to identify. Since the resumption of the movement, on October 24, no shooting with live bullets of the police was recorded in the capital, but about forty demonstrators were killed there.

Iraqi security official said many law enforcement officials said they were not trained in crowd control in a country that is regularly at war but is currently experiencing its deadliest social crisis since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Twelfth most corrupt country in the world

Iraq is the twelfth most corrupt country in the world according to the NGO Transparency International. According to official reports, since the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, corruption has engulfed at least 410 billion euros, four times the state budget and more than twice the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. 'Iraq.

In addition to slogans demanding work for young people – whose unemployment rate of 25% is twice the national average – and public services, demonstrators held up posters of support for General Abdel Wahab Al-Saadi. The latter, the boss of counter-terrorism, elite units created and armed by the Americans, was sidelined at the end of September by Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, provoking an outcry – this decision being seen by observers as favorable to pro-Iran factions in Iraq.

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