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Iraq security forces kill protesters with live rounds

November 4, 2019

Security forces in Baghdad opened fire on protesters who crossed a bridge over the Tigris River into a high-security area. The protests show no sign of stopping.

Iraq anti-government protesters use slingshots to fire stones in Baghdad.
Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. al-Rubaye

Security forces in Iraq used live rounds, tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least five people.

The deaths happened as thousands took part in anti-government protests across the capital city.

A member of the security forces was also among those killed and least 34 people were wounded in the violence, according to government and medical spokespeople.

Shots fired after entering the Green Zone

The live rounds were said to have been fired close to the offices of Iraq's state broadcaster after protesters crossed the Al-Ahrar Bridge over the Tigris River. 

The bridge separates Baghdad from government buildings in the high-security area, the so-called Green Zone.

Iraqi law enforcement had "dealt with" a group of protesters who set fire to a restaurant, after crossing a main bridge over the Tigris, according to a spokesman for the prime minister. He did not elaborate.

A protester kneels next to the body of a fellow protester covered in an Iraqi flag. He is surrounded by other protesters.
At least 250 people have been killed in the anti-government protestsImage: Getty Images/AFP/A. al-Rubaye

Security and medical sources confirmed the number of dead, but could only confirm that one death was from live fire, according to the Reuters news agency.

How many people have been killed so far?

The deaths came after three protesters were killed on Sunday night during an attack on the Iranian Consulate in Karbala, in southern Iraq.

Conservative estimates put the total number of people killed in anti-government protests at 250 since the beginning of October.

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

Demonstrations were initially sparked by anger at Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi's government, which Iraqi citizens see as corrupt and tied to foreign governments.

Citizens are also unhappy about high unemployment rates and poor public services.

Protesters have revived chants popular during the Arab Spring protests of 2011, saying "the people want the fall of the regime."

kmm/aw (dpa, Reuters)

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