New clashes in Baghdad and southern Iraq leave dozens injured

For the second consecutive day, in the Iraqi capital and the south of the country, clashes took place on Sunday 26 January between anti-government demonstrators and the security forces.

Fearing that their movement started in early October would be ousted after an intervention by the security forces interspersed with violence on Saturday, the demonstrators reinvested the same evening and the next morning the main places of the protest. Four protesters were killed in Baghdad and the south, according to an update, in clashes with law enforcement officials on Saturday.

Security forces fired live ammunition on Sunday in Baghdad to disperse small rallies in Khallani and Wathba squares, near Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protest, according to a police source. At least 17 protesters were injured, including six by gunfire, the source said. Protesters threw stones at riot police and some threw Molotov cocktails. A student march planned to reach Tahrir Square in the afternoon from the Baghdad university campus.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Tahrir Square, the beating heart of protest in Baghdad

In the south, in Nassiriya, the security forces also fired live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, gathered in large numbers after the police chased them from the main arteries leading to the main site of the protest, Habboubi Square. At least 50 demonstrators were wounded by gunshots and around 100 others were treated after tear gas was fired by law enforcement, a medical source said.

In Basra, in the far south of the country, hundreds of students protested the dismantling of their camp by anti-riot forces the day before, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent. In Kout, students have erected new tents to replace those dismantled the day before. In the holy city of Najaf, students blocked the road to the airport.

Moqtada Sadr no longer supports the challenge

Powerful Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr announced on Friday that he no longer supports the protesters. Some feared that this would leave the field open to power to suppress their movement, which tirelessly calls for deep reforms.

Sadr said on Twitter that he would no longer be involved in the movement after a rally in Baghdad of thousands of his supporters demanding the departure of the 5,200 American soldiers stationed in Iraq. His supporters, who had supported the protest until then, dismantled their tents that had been set up in Baghdad since October. Youth-dominated protests began in Baghdad and the Shiite-dominated South since 1st October. They denounce the lack of jobs, the lack of services and rampant corruption.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Myriam Benraad: "Unworthiness is at the heart of protest movements in the Arab world"


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here