Iraqi forces kill protester, wound 40 in southern Basra: sources of security and rights

Iraqi protesters clash with Iraqi security forces during anti-government protests in Basra, Iraq, November 6, 2020. REUTERS / Essam Al-Sudani

BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces killed at least one anti-government protester on Friday with live ammunition and wounded at least 40 others in the southern city of Basra, security sources and a responsible for rights.

This is the first murder of a protester by security forces in Basra since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office in May.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry confirmed the death, but said in a statement that no Iraqi security forces were authorized to use weapons against protesters and that it was investigating the incident.

Deadly outbreaks have been rare since protests against the Iraqi ruling elite and demanding jobs and services largely subsided earlier this year.

In the months of anti-government protests that erupted under his predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi in October 2019, more than 500 people were killed, mostly young unarmed protesters.

Basra security sources and the rights official said several dozen protesters took to the streets of the country’s southern oil hub on Friday to demand jobs and basic services.

They were angry that Kadhimi generally did not respect both and that the protest camps had been cleared by security forces in Basra and Baghdad, the rights official said.

Kadhimi, who traveled to Basra on Thursday to visit energy projects and meet with provincial officials, pledged to protect non-violent Iraqi protesters and bring justice to the families of those killed by security forces last year and unidentified armed men.

Baghdad security forces were ordered last month not to use live fire to deal with protests marking the anniversary of the 2019 protests.

Aref Mohamed report; Written by John Davison in Istanbul; Editing by Alison Williams


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