Iraqi protesters storm Baghdad bridge; medic killed

Iraq’s main port reopens; 4 protesters killed in Baghdad | Tacoma News Tribune

Demonstrators in the capital set up tents for a sit-in that extended to new streets and onto the banks of the Tigris River.

According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Friday, since 25 October at least 16 people have been killed by direct hits from tear gas canisters. "Security forces have strict orders not to use live ammunition against protests and they are adhering to the rules of engagement but this could change", the prime minister's spokesman said.

One protester died from a tear gas canister fired directly into his head, a Reuters witness said.

About 90,000 barrels of crude oil meant for export were trapped at a northern Iraq field on Thursday because transport routes were cut by protests, an industry source said.

The shooting in Basra occurred around midnight Thursday and wounded around 120 people, according to medical officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Rasool Mohammed, an activist from Baghdad's al-Sadr city, said four of his friends have vanished in the last few days.

Although the resumption has been less deadly, security sources have reported that protesters are being abducted by unidentified assailants to intimidate them.

"He says he's supporting protests and that we should keep going but he hasn't helped".


While the government has provided some handouts to the poor, promised to prosecute corrupt officials and to create more job opportunities for graduates, it has not been able to to placate the protesters.

In the southern city of Basra, seven protesters were killed on Thursday and early Friday, driving up the death toll since October 1 when demonstrations over unemployment began.

.

Al-Sistani has always appealed for both sides to refrain from violence.

Iraqi security forces shot dead at least six anti-government protesters in Baghdad on Thursday (Nov 7), police and medical sources said, as weeks of deadly unrest showed no signs of abating.

Sistani also warned against the exploitation of the unrest by "internal and external" forces which he said sought to destabilise Iraq for their own goals.

The Iraqi government has been unable to quell the protests that have presented its biggest in years, shattering much of the calm that followed the defeat of the Islamic Stare (IS) militant group in 2017. Driven by economic grievances, the demonstrations have also exposed long-simmering resentment at the country's powerful Shiite political parties and militias with close ties to Iran.

He also called on protesters not to direct their anger at the country's many armed militias, many of which are linked to Iran, saying: "If peaceful protests and strikes are possible today away from the terrorists' harm, it is thanks to these heroic men". In Baghdad on Friday, Iraqi state television said explosives experts found a bomb under one of the city's bridges and carried out a controlled explosion. It was not immediately clear where the incident took place.

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