Oct 26, 2019

Iraqi police kill at least 42 protesters amid renewed demonstrations

Iraqi protesters gather on the capital Baghdad's Al-Jumhuriyah Bridge. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi police killed at least 42 protesters as of Saturday in Baghdad — just three weeks after the first set of deadly protests left about 150 people dead across the country, Al Jazeera reports.

Why it matters: The unrest has ended roughly two years of stability in Iraq. Early October protests were paused after violence against protesters grew, but demonstrators returned to the streets this week, again calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, per Al Jazeera.

  • Security forces against activists, including tear gas and grenades, are only deepening the divide with the government, notes the Times.
  • The turnout for these protests is growing, as more women and members of the middle-class are participating.

What's next: Legislators are expected to convene at the parliament at 1 pm to "discuss protesters' demands, cabinet's decisions and the implementation of reforms," according to Al Jazeera. 

  • Meanwhile, Mahdi has vowed to address demonstrators' grievances by reorganizing his cabinet and implementing reforms.
  • The Iraqi government plans also to prosecute more than a dozen military and police commanders for killing protesters during the first round of demonstrations, per the Times. The investigations became part of the protesters' demands after the police started killing civilians.

The bottom line: "While it was difficult to project what could happen, the fury among ordinary Iraqis at perceived and real injustices made it seem that Iraq could be facing an internal crisis as serious as anything since elected governments began in the post-Saddam Hussein era," writes the New York Times.

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Iraq unrest: Protesters attack Iranian consulate in Karbala

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:

Go deeperArrowNov 4, 2019

18 dead after gunmen attack Iraqi protestors

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

At least 18 Iraqis died and hundreds more were wounded after masked gunmen opened fire on protesters in Karbala early Tuesday morning, reports the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Over 250 Iraqis have died since the start of the anti-government protests this month, per Al Jazeera. This latest attack comes a day after the government announced a curfew, and is the fifth consecutive day of protests across Iraq.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

U.S. joins UN urging Iraq to call early elections

A demonstrator, wounded after security forces' intervention with a gas bomb, during the ongoing anti-government demonstrations Baghdad on Sunday. Photo: Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Trump administration joined the UN Sunday in urging Iraq’s government to hold early elections and "halt the violence against protesters" after scores were killed by security forces in weeks of unrest.

Why it matters: Demonstrations over the past two months have rocked Iraq, which had been in a state of relative stability for two years. At least 320 protesters have died in the unrest, with four more protesters killed and "some 130 wounded in clashes" in the southern city of Nasiryah over the weekend, AP reports.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019