More than 20 killed as anti-government protests grip Iraq

Iraqi forces fire tear gas and rubber bullets, killing at least 21 as rallies erupt in Baghdad and southern cities.

Oct. 25, 2019

At least 21 people have been killed in Iraq as anti-government protests resumed after a three-week hiatus.

Iraqi police on Friday fired rubber bullets and volleys of tear gas canisters to disperse thousands of protesters that had gathered in the capital, Baghdad, while several other demonstrations swept across the country’s south.

The protesters are calling for an overhaul of the country’s political system and an end to official corruption amid growing anger over chronically high unemployment and poor public services.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll in the protests at 21, including eight people in Baghdad. Thirteen others were killed in the southern provinces of Maysan, Dhi Qar and Muthanna, Mustafa Saadoon, the observatory’s director, told Al Jazeera.

More than 1,700 protesters were wounded, Saadoon said.

Iraq’s semi-official Human Rights Commission also said 21 people had been killed during the demonstrations, according to AFP news agency.

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior earlier said at least four people had died – two in Baghdad and two in the southern city of Amarah.