Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq has released a statement that at least 15 people have been killed, 856 people have been injured and 62 people are arrested due to the protests in Iraq in the past 3 days. These protests mark the biggest and most serious challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government. Violent demonstrations against the government have been going on since Tuesday in the capital city of Baghdad and in several provinces across the country. To curb the unrest the government has imposed curfews and blocked internet access in most of the provinces of Iraq ‘until further notice’.
The protests are mostly spontaneous and without political agenda brought about by the youth to fight the rising unemployment, corruption and lack of basic amenities like electricity and water supply. The youth unemployment rate has been reported to be double of the adult unemployment rate as per World Bank
The demonstrations started in Baghdad on Tuesday but was quickly dispersed by the security forces. This led to a mass scale forward across Iraq getting thousands of youth to the streets. It has since spread to Najaf and Nasiriya and the Shia south.
The round the clock curfew in Baghdad was broken by the protestors early on Thursday as they poured into Tahrir Square, prompting the security forces to use live ammunition and tear gas on the crowd. According to the journalists on ground, the curfew in Baghdad is working to an extent. As soon as the crowds reach 50 to 60 people, they are being dispersed by the security forces. Curfews have also extended to Najaf and Nasiriya where the most violent of the protests took place making the death toll up by 10.
The 2 border crossings into Iraq, including the one used by Iranian pilgrims, have also been closed. It has also been reported that the Green Zone, where government buildings and embassies are located, have also been closed off for now.
Tags : Iraq; Protests