Sunday, January 17th | 4 Shevat 5781

October 27, 2019 10:26 am

Defying Crackdown, Hundreds of Iraqis Protest for Third Day

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A demonstrator throws a tear gas bomb during a protest over corruption, lack of jobs, and poor services, in Baghdad, Iraq, October 27, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily.

Hundreds of Iraqi protesters remained in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square on Sunday, defying a bloody crackdown that killed scores over the weekend and an overnight raid by security forces seeking to disperse them.

Young men had erected barricades on a bridge leading to the capital’s fortified Green Zone between them and security forces who continued to lob tear gas canisters towards them.

At least 67 Iraqis were killed and hundreds wounded on Friday and Saturday, as demonstrators clashed with security forces and militia groups in a second wave of protests against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government this month, bringing the total death toll in October to 224.

Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service said on Sunday it had deployed in the streets of Baghdad to protect important state buildings “from undisciplined elements.”

Related coverage

January 17, 2021 11:37 am

As Israel-UAE Ties Deepen, BDS Advocates ‘Give Up’ on Efforts to Boycott Jewish State - Amid expanding ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates following the Abraham Accords, a leading Palestinian BDS...

Two security sources had told Reuters on Saturday that elite counter-terrorism forces had been deployed in Baghdad and had been told to “use all necessary measures” to end the protests against Abdul Mahdi’s government.

Counter-terrorism forces beat and arrested dozens of protesters in the southern city of Nassiriya on Saturday night. They broke up the demonstrations in Tahrir Square with tear gas and stun grenades but some protesters have regrouped.

The unrest has broken nearly two years of relative stability in Iraq, which from 2003 to 2017 endured a foreign occupation, civil war, and an Islamic State insurgency.

It poses the biggest challenge to Abdul Mahdi since he took office just a year ago. Despite promising reforms and ordering a broad cabinet reshuffle, he has so far struggled to address the protesters’ discontent.

Political alliances backing his fragile coalition government began to fracture, making his continued leadership increasingly precarious.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.