Nine demonstrators who were shot dead early last month in Iraq’s southern city of Basra were killed for “political reasons”, according to the findings of a government commission of inquiry.
Comprised of representatives from various Iraqi security and intelligence agencies, the commission blamed the deaths on “saboteurs” working for certain Iraqi political parties.
The commission has been tasked with investigating a wave of deadly violence that engulfed Basra on Sept. 2 and lasted for two days, during which at least nine demonstrators were killed.
Numerous injuries were also recorded among Iraqi security forces, while several state institutions and party offices -- along with the Iranian consulate in Basra -- were ransacked.
In a Tuesday statement, the commission criticized the "failure on the part of police to protect state institutions” and the “slow reaction [to the crisis] by the [army’s] Basra Operations Command”.
According to the commission, the political affiliations of certain police officials in Basra had hindered them from carrying out their responsibilities, including the protection of unarmed demonstrators.
Since early July, Iraq’s Shia-majority southern and central provinces -- especially Basra -- have been rocked by a wave of popular protest which at one point spread to capital Baghdad.
Demonstrators demand improved public utilities, especially water and electricity; more employment opportunities; and an end to perceived government corruption.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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