More than 100 protesters killed in Iraq after a week of protest against unemployment and corruption

Faced with the spiral of violence and the long list of "martyrs," protesters say they are ready to challenge the security forces "until the fall of the regime."

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Iraqi security forces block access to the demonstration site in Baghdad on 6 October. HADI MIZBAN / AP

Nothing seems to be able to begin the determination of the Iraqis who mobilized, for the sixth consecutive day, Sunday, October 6. Neither the stick nor the carrot. In the early evening, while the capital, Baghdad, remained relatively calm during the day, hundreds of protesters from the Shiite stronghold of Sadr Citr in the east clashed with security forces who had erected roadblocks to prevent them from reaching the city center, four kilometers away, and Tahrir Square, rallying point for the protest, totally closed. The clashes killed at least eight people.

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Protesters who have been protesting in Baghdad and southern Shiite since Tuesday – mostly unemployed youth and poor neighborhoods – are no longer satisfied with the initial demands of the anti-corruption, unemployment and decaying public services movement.

Faced with the spiral of violence and the long list of "martyrs", they say they are ready to challenge the security forces "Until the fall of the regime". Since the 1st In October, at least 104 people were killed – including eight policemen – and 6,100 others wounded – including 1,200 members of the security forces, according to figures announced Sunday by the Ministry of the Interior.

Snipers deliberately targeting to kill

The crackdown – a response that Baghdad has favored from day one – has taken a worrying turn since Friday. In the capital, protesters found themselves under fire from snipers, deliberately targeting to kill.

In the center of Baghdad, 5 October.
In the center of Baghdad, 5 October. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Among the videos that were uploaded on social media early Sunday morning, when the Internet was reinstated for just a few hours in the country, several show protesters shot by bullets. Most of the victims were hit in the head and heart, Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan said. "Malicious hands" behind these attacks and denied the involvement of law enforcement. However, demonstrators and journalists claimed to have seen the security forces fire on the crowd to disperse it.

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Saturday night, in what appears to have been a coordinated operation, a dozen local and foreign media were attacked by armed men in the space of two hours.

Emirati television channel Al-Hadath broadcast a video of the attack on its offices in Baghdad, made from surveillance camera footage. They show dozens of armed men, masked and in uniform of special units, invading the studios of the chain and breaking the equipment. Other media reported that their staff had been molested. Journalists and political activists fear being arrested or kidnapped. In Basra, the big metropolis in the south of the country, a caricaturist and his wife were murdered at home by gunmen on Thursday.


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