Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Clashes in Iraq as Authorities Remove Sit-in

Sun 26 Jan 2020 | 03:10 PM
Yassmine Elsayed

Iraq security forces fired tear gas and gunshots as clashes renewed this morning, after protesters in Baghdad and other cities confronted forces over attempts to remove a sit-in in the heart of the Iraqi capital.

The latest attempt by the authorities came hours after the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who has millions of supporters in Baghdad and southern cities, announced that he would stop participating in anti-government demonstrations.

Security and medical sources said that at least 14 protesters were injured in the capital, while the unrest in the southern city of Nasiriyah resulted in the injury of at least 17 protesters, four of them by live ammunition.

Police sources and Reuters witnesses said that the protests also continued in Karbala, Najaf, Basra, and Diwaniyah in defiance of security forces' attempts to break up sit-ins.

Sadr's supporters backed anti-government protests, sometimes providing protection for the protestors from attacks by security forces and unidentified gunmen, but they began leaving the sit-in camps early Saturday morning after Sadr's announcement.

The security forces then proceeded to remove concrete barriers near Tahrir Square, where protesters have been protesting for months, and at least one major bridge over the Tigris River.

Iraq faces a mounting political deadlock in choosing the next prime minister due to public pressure to bring an independent figure from outside the ruling elite.

The issue of consensus on assigning an Iraqi figure to form the government after the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi on November 29 is still stalled, especially after a parliamentary committee announced that the president of the republic could replace the prime minister in exceptional cases- a “scenario that the country is likely to turn to.”

According to the latest figures, medical sources and Iraqi police officials revealed that the number of those killed in the demonstrations has surpassed 400.