| 16 June 2021, Wednesday | النسخة العربية

One protester dies after clashes with police in Baghdad

On Tuesday, Iraqi security forces fired live rounds in the air in order to disperse antigovernmental protests in Central Baghdad, one person died, and several injured, security and medical sources reported.

The sources said that the clashes were hurt by 14 protestors and seven security forces.

Hundreds demonstrated on Tahrir Square shouting slogans at militias backed by Iran and accusing the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi of failing to answer the killings in recent months of several dozen activists shot dead in various parts of Iraq.

One protester, who gave only his first name Yousif, carried a photograph of an activist he said had been killed recently.

He blamed unnamed militias, who are supported by neighbouring Iran, for the death. The militias, who enjoy considerable influence over Iraq’s security affairs, have in the past denied any involvement in activists’ deaths.

Tuesday’s clashes erupted after protesters started throwing bricks towards security forces, a Reuters witness said.

When nationwide protests erupted in 2019, hundreds of mostly unarmed demonstrators were killed and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi was forced to resign.

He was replaced by Kadhimi, who pledged to investigate activists’ deaths but also imprisoned hundreds of demonstrators.

The government has vowed to crack down on what it says are criminal armed groups trying to destabilize the country, and to impose state control over weapons as part of efforts to reduce the influence of militias.