Nov 4, 2019 - World

Iraq unrest: Protesters attack Iranian consulate in Karbala

 An Iraqi protester holds a placard during ongoing anti-government demonstrations in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, south of Iraq's capital Baghdad, on November 1

An Iraqi protester holds a placard reading "We are an invincible nation" during ongoing anti-government demonstrations, Karbala, Nov. 1. Photo: Mohammed Sawaf/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters in Iraq climbed the concrete barriers outside the Iranian Consulate and tore down Iran's flag in the Shiite holy city of Karbala in central Iraq Sunday night amid ongoing demonstrations, AP reports.

Details: Security forces dispersed the protesters, who numbered in the dozens, by firing into the air, per Al Jazeera, which reports demonstrators "threw stones and burned tires around the building." President Trump retweeted without comment videos from the attack, including one from Saudi news outlet Arab News:

Why it matters: Iraq had been in a state of relative stability for two years before last month when the protests erupted. More than 200 people have died in the unrest. Per AP, protesters want to see major changes in the political system that was established after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country.

The big picture: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi agreed last week to step down, a key demand from protesters, who have called for a broad overhaul of the government amid a backdrop of unemployment, violence and corruption throughout the country.

What they're saying: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Friday, "The Government of Iraq should listen to the legitimate demands made by the Iraqi people who have taken to the streets to have their voices heard. The United States is closely monitoring the situation and from the beginning we have called on all sides to reject violence."

Go deeper: Protests around the world aimed squarely at existing governments

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