Anti-government protests in Iraq have once again flared up, following a period of calm amid the public's persisting discontent with economic conditions.
On Monday and Tuesday, fresh protests swept through the capital Baghdad as well as the cities of Karbala and Basra. The protesters in Baghdad lit fires on the streets and blocked some roads there.
Clashes were also reported on Tuesday between protesters and security forces at Baghdad’s flashpoint al-Ahrar bridge. Medics told the AFP that a protester had lost his life after being shot by a rubber bullet.
At least 18 others were also wounded as riot police fired tear gas to prevent the protesters from crossing the bridge to enter the Green Zone, which hosts a cluster of government buildings and diplomatic missions.
To the south in the holy city of Karbala, protests turned violent after a group of demonstrators hurled projectiles at police officers.
In the southern city of Basra, the majority of main streets were closed, with protesters burning tires and setting traffic blockades around the city.
Schools, state-run offices and departments were closed as protesters declared a general strike for all government institutions in Basra.
The protests resumed on Sunday, when a total of six people lost their lives allegedly in clashes with security forces.
The demonstrations began in October against corruption and poor economy
The rallies resumed later in the month after a pause of about two weeks, but took a violent turn, with some participants vandalizing public property and opening fire on demonstrators during the mayhem.
Over 300 people have been killed in the Iraq unrest since October 1, according to the Iraqi parliament’s human rights commission.
Earlier this month, Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari told France 24’s Arabic-language channel that a “third party” was behind shooting at the demonstrators.
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