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Two killed in protests on Friday: Iraq health ministry

By Rudaw 21/7/2018
Two killed in protests on Friday: Iraq health ministry
Protesters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square clash with security forces on Friday. Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Two people were killed in protests in southern Iraq on Friday evening.

"The casualties of the protests that many provinces witnessed today increased to two dead, one of them in Diwaniya and the other in Najaf. And 45 were injured, most of whom were members of the security forces," the spokesperson for Iraq's ministry of health, Sayf Badir, told al-Sumaria news.

Badir added that most of the injured had received treatment in hospital and been discharged. 

The approximately 20-year-old man killed in Diwaniya was shot by a guard from the Badr organization during a demonstration outside of the Iran-backed group’s local headquarters, AFP reported. 

This brings to ten the total of deaths in nearly two weeks of protests that have rocked southern Iraq. 

Suffering with high unemployment and poor electricity and water services in Iraq’s sweltering summer, protesters say they have had enough of deep-rooted government corruption and mismanagement. They are demanding greater transparency and accountability, as well as concrete action on infrastructure projects and job creation. 

Protests began in Basra province – the resource-wealthy southern tip of Iraq that is home to the country’s only seaport and fills the bulk of the national coffers with its oil revenues. Yet the people say they see little benefit. 

Leaders across the political spectrum have acknowledged the “just demands” of the protesters. Many, however, have accused “infiltrators” of hijacking the demonstrations and instigating violence.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has formed a crisis cell to respond to the protesters’ demands and has promised jobs and completion of infrastructure projects. 

Protesters in Baghdad on Friday were not appeased, however. They denounced “thieves” ruling the country and carried signs reading, ‘No, no to political parties.’

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