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Three protesters killed, dozens wounded in Iraq's capital Baghdad

Three Iraqi protesters were killed on Monday in Baghdad's Tayaran Square after security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas as angry demonstrators took to the streets in force. AFP reported citing the medics.

Aljazeera reported two protesters killed by the Iraqi Forces

An AP reports citing activists and officials also confirmed that Iraqi security forces wounded dozens of protesters on Sunday as renewed anti-government demonstrations gripped the capital and Iraq’s south.

The mass protests which had lost steam when soaring U.S.-Iran tensions threatened an open conflict on Iraqi soil in past weeks. Iraqi activists gave the government a week’s deadline to act on their demands for sweeping political reforms or said they would up the pressure with new demonstrations.

Fierce clashes between protesters and security forces in central Baghdad wounded at least 27 people on Sunday and three reportedly killed on Monday. 

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse crowds in Tayaran square and the nearby Sinak bridge, wounding 23, an activist and two medical officials said. Some protesters hurled rocks at police, wounding four personnel, a security official and two medical officials said.

The Iraqi government did not confirm the deaths. Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from the Baghdad demonstration, said activists took video showing seriously wounded protesters being carried away after the fierce clashes.

The violence came as security forces tried to clear roads in Iraq's capital after hundreds of protesters took to the streets to express their anger at the embattled government's slow pace of reforms.

Demonstrators a week ago gave the government until Monday to act on their demands, which include the holding of a snap poll under a new electoral law, the appointment of an independent prime minister, and the prosecution of officials suspected of corruption.

The UN envoy to Iraq urged Iraqi political elites to resume pushing for reforms and for protests to remain peaceful.

"Any steps taken so far to address the people's concerns will remain hollow if they are not completed," said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in a statement issued by the UN. "Violent suppression of peaceful protesters is intolerable and must be avoided at all costs."

Starting Sunday and continuing on Monday, young demonstrators in Baghdad and the south began sealing off highways and bridges with burning tyres.

Iraq protesters threaten to block main roads


"We blocked the road to demand our rights ... the rights of young people to get a job," said one of the protesters in the capital, who asked to remain anonymous.

"We demand the central government go to early elections and the nomination of a new independent prime minister. If that doesn't happen, we will escalate and block all the highways and centres of the city."

The Iraqi activists said that more rallies are planned in the coming days as the protesters seek to refocus public attention on their mass movement.

Demonstrators decried the violent tactics used by security forces to disperse the crowds.

"For months no one has listened to our demands. They are killing us. It's just bloodshed," protester Hassan Ali told Al Jazeera.

Three-wheel taxis rescued tear-gas victims and brought them to makeshift hospitals near the demonstrations.

Medics at the scene treated dozens of people who suffered the effects of tear gas.

Jamal, a medic in Baghdad, told Al Jazeera: "We went to Tayaran Square in Baghdad. People wanted me to help them, I was also attacked by tear gas. I fell down as the security forces were using tear gas and live ammunition."

A statement from the Baghdad Operations Command said 14 officers were wounded by a group of rock-throwing "inciters of violence " while trying to secure the entrance to Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement.

"Despite these actions our forces continued to exercise restraint and follow up on the security duties assigned to them," it said.

A security official said at least nine arrests were made after the National Security Council authorised security forces to detain demonstrators blocking main thoroughfares and roundabouts.

Protests also broke out in southern Iraq, including in the cities of Nasiriya, Karbala and Amara, where demonstrators burned tyres and blocked roads.

In the southern city of Nasiriyah, protesters blocked the highway linking the city to the southern oil-rich province of Basra. At least six protesters were wounded when an unknown gunmen fired at them from a speeding car, a medical official said.


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