28 Iraqi protesters killed, 233 injured after Iranian regime’s consulate torched
Iraqi demonstrators gesture as flames begin consuming Iranian regime’s consulate in Najaf on Wednesday © AFP via Getty Images
Date: 2019-11-28 10:08
Iraqi security forces shot dead at least eight protesters in the southern city of Nassiriya on Thursday (November 28) and authorities set up joint military-civilian "crisis cells" to stem unrest after demonstrators burned an Iranian regime’s consulate.
Security forces opened fire on protesters who had gathered on a bridge in Nassiriya before dawn, medical sources said. At least 28 were killed and 233 more were wounded in the incident, they said.
A curfew was imposed in the southern holy city of Najaf where protesters stormed and set fire to the Iranian regime’s consulate. Businesses and government offices were closed in the city, state media reported.
The torching of the consulate escalated violence in Iraq after weeks of mass demonstrations that aim to bring down a government seen as endemically corrupt and backed by Tehran.
It was the strongest expression yet of the anti-Iranian sentiment of Iraqi demonstrators, who have taken to the streets for weeks in Baghdad and the Shi'ite Muslim-majority south. Hundreds have been killed by Iraqi security forces.
Iraqi authorities had set up "crisis cells" in several provinces to try to restore order, a military statement said.
It said the cells would be led by provincial governors but would include military leaders who would take charge of local security and military forces.
Alia, a 23-year-old medical student, said: “The reforms are just words. We want actions. We’ve had 16 years of words without actions. We have been robbed for 16 years.”
The protests, which began in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and have spread through southern cities, are the most complex challenge facing the Shi'ite-dominated ruling class that has controlled state institutions and patronage networks since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Protesters are mostly unemployed Shi'ite youth who demand the departure of Iraq's entire political elite.
The street violence in Iraq has left more than 350 people dead and some 15,000 wounded over the past two months.
Based on Reuters, AFP