At Least 7 Killed, More Than 100 Wounded in Baghdad Protests Saturday
Government forces shot dead at least six demonstrators in Baghdad on Saturday as security forces retook the Sinak, Ahrar and Shuhada bridges over the Tigris River and anti-government protests intensified. A seventh protester was killed when a teargas canister hit him in the head. In Basra, three protesters were killed overnight Friday. Amnesty International reports that at least 264 protesters have been killed throughout the country over the past month, calling the violence a “bloodbath.” The mass demonstrations erupted in Baghdad and southern Iraq in October, with protesters demanding government reforms, job opportunities, better government services, an end to corruption, and reduced Iranian influence on the country. In response, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has promised electoral reforms and a government reshuffle. Iraq’s top Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said in a statement on Saturday that the government should respond to protesters’ demands. In his Friday sermon, delivered by a representative, he urged security forces to use restraint and avoid applying excessive force against the protesters.