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Four people killed in Baghdad protests

November 14, 2019

Security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse protesters in Baghdad. More than 300 people have died since protests began last month.

Protester faces security forces in Baghdad
Image: Reuters/A. Al-Marjani

Iraqi security forces killed at least four people and injured more than 50 others on Thursday.

They used rubber bullets, tear gas, and live rounds to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered in central Baghdad, according to medical and security officials. 

Three demonstrators were killed in Tahrir Square when tear gas canisters struck them directly in the head Thursday morning. A fourth died later in a hospital from wounds sustained from a stun bomb.

Read more: Zahraa Ghandour: 'It's always the right time to talk about freedom'

The military-grade tear gas canisters are 10 times heavier than regular grenades and are capable of piercing the skull.

Amnesty International reports that the victims suffered "gruesome wounds and death after the grenades embed inside their heads."

Protester throws a tear gas canister in Baghdad
Image: Reuters/A. Al-Marjani

Police and medical sources report that over half of the wounded suffered injuries from live ammunition.

Thursday's deadly protest follows two days of relative calm in Baghdad. Security personnel have repeatedly resorted to lethal force to quell recent demonstrations. 

Protests also took place in other Iraqi cities on Wednesday and Thursday. Protesters set fire to a local official's house in the town of Gharraf late Wednesday evening.

Protests against poverty

For more than six weeks, protesters in Baghdad and southern Iraq have demonstrated against widespread poverty and corruption in the country. Over 300 people have been killed since protests began on October 1.

Read more: Opinion: Is the Middle East seeing a new Arab Spring?

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has offered concessions, including new elections and government subsidies. But protesters are demanding a complete overhaul of the government. 

Despite being home to valuable oil reserves, most Iraqis live in poverty, without adequate access to education, clean water, or job opportunities. 

kp/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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