Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Iraqi security troops kill one and wound seven in Baghdad

Students marched on streets of capital on Sunday

Iraqi security forces killed one person and wounded seven on Sunday when they opened fire on protesters in Baghdad, security and medical sources said.

Iraq is facing a crisis, with mass anti-government protests erupting on October 1 in the capital and spreading through the provinces in the south of the country.

Nearly 500 protesters have been killed after being fired at by Iraqi security troops, who have used bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds.

Protesters are demanding the removal of what they see as corrupt ruling elite and an end to foreign interference in Iraqi politics, mainly by Iran and the US.

The unrest has also been spurred by poor social services and high unemployment.

Demonstrators continue to march to show their rejection of the Prime Minister-designate, Mohammed Allawi.

Although the embattled premier has promised to hold an early election free from "the influence of money, weapons and foreign interference", his promise has not halted the protests.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Mr Allawi on Sunday.

In a tweet, Mr Pompeo said: "Pleased to speak with new Iraq PM-designate Mohammed Allawi. I welcomed his promise to hold early elections, reaffirmed our commitment to Iraq, urged an end to violence, and called for accountability and urgent action to address protesters’ legitimate demands."

In the capital’s Khilani and Tahrir squares on Sunday, thousands of students marched holding pictures of those who were killed in the protests.

“Our soul and blood be sacrificed to you, Iraq,” was chanted, after at least two protesters were injured in confrontations with riot police near Khilani Square on Saturday.

Updated: February 24, 2020 07:43 AM

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