Iraq, six victims in new clashes between police and anti-government protesters
At least four civilian deaths in Baghdad and Kerbala, two among security forces in Basra. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and stones, police responded with bullets and tear gas. Three rockets fell near the U.S. embassy in the capital, inside the Green Zone.
Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The toll from renewed clashes yesterday between demonstrators and law enforcement officers in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, is at least six victims, including two policemen, report Medical and security sources in the latest violence to interrupt weeks of apparent calm.
At least three people died in a hospital in Baghdad following gunshot wounds sustained during the protest in Tayaran Square. Two of the victims were hit by bullets, while the third was hit by a can of tear gas. A fourth protester was killed by police in the Shia holy city of Kerbala.
Protesters threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police, who responded using tear gas and grenades. “They should [the security forces] stop shooting and targeting people… who are they and who are we? We are all Iraqis. Why are they shooting their brothers? "Shouts a woman in the crowd in Baghdad, who asks for anonymity.
In the southern city of Basra, two policemen were hit and killed by a car during a street demonstration. According to initial reports it was an accident, because the driver of the vehicle was trying to avoid the area of clashes between citizens and police; in doing so, he panicked hitting two of them.
Also in the south of the country, hundreds of demonstrators set fire to tires and blocked the main communication routes Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. According to the demonstrators, the interim Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not kept his promise to identify a new government that is "acceptable" for all Iraqis.
Since early October, an increasingly wider protest movement has developed across the country against the government and the authorities. Police have cracked down hard on demonstrations, but in the end Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had to resign. Protestors, irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation, want to see the fall of the whole political class.
In late November repression intensified, when the Iranian consulate in Najaf was attacked twice, followed by the death of more than 450 dead and 20,000 wounded.
Also yesterday, three Katyusha rockets fell in the Green Zone in Baghdad, the maximum security area that is home to embassies and government buildings. They were launched from the district of Zafaraniyah, on the outskirts of the capital, and fell a short distance from the headquarters of the US diplomatic representation in Iraq, already the scene of targeted attacks in the context of the clash between Washington and Tehran on Iraqi soil.