[WSMDiscuss] 'Bloodbath' : Dozens of protesters killed in Iraq as army deploys south (Arwa Ibrahim, on al-Jazeera)

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Mon Apr 13 18:54:06 CEST 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

Iraq in movement…, West Asia in movement…, Resistance in movement…

[And even as the world reels from the corona virus pandemic, resistance as well as ‘politics as usual’ also continue relentlessly, here in Iraq :

'Bloodbath' : Dozens of protesters killed in Iraq as army deploys south

Iraqi security forces have shot dead at least 44 people in the country's south in one of the bloodiest day of violence

Arwa Ibrahim <https://www.aljazeera.com/profile/arwa-ibrahim.html>, on al-Jazeera

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/iraq-security-forces-kill-protesters-nasiriyah-army-deploys-191128084334582.html <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/iraq-security-forces-kill-protesters-nasiriyah-army-deploys-191128084334582.html>

Baghdad, Iraq - Iraqi security forces on Thursday shot dead at least 44 people in the country's south in one of the bloodiest days of violence since the anti-government protests erupted in early October.

At least 33 protesters were reported killed in Nasiriya city after security forces used live ammunition and tear gas canisters on crowds while another 11 people were killed in Shia holy city of Najaf, where an Iranian consulate was torched <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/iraqi-protesters-torch-iranian-consulate-najaf-191127200729292.html> a day earlier by angry protesters.

Security sources told Al Jazeera at least 233 people were wounded in the crackdown on protests in Nasiriya.


Iraq condemns attack on Iranian consulate in Najaf <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/iraqi-protesters-torch-iranian-consulate-najaf-191127200729292.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_page&utm_campaign=read_more_links>
Baghdad's commercial hub feels pinch as Iraq protests continue <https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/baghdad-commercial-hub-feels-pinch-iraq-protests-continue-191126120706297.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_page&utm_campaign=read_more_links>
Reports: Leaked intelligence cables show Iran's sway in Iraq <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/reports-leaked-intelligence-cables-show-iran-sway-iraq-191118112734477.html?utm_source=website&utm_medium=article_page&utm_campaign=read_more_links>
The Iraqi government fired Lieutenant-General Jamil al-Shammari, who was appointed a day earlier to manage the unrest in Dhi Qar province, of which Nasiriya is the capital, following the deadly violence.

Amid escalating protests in the country's south authorities in the capital, Baghdad, dispatched troops to "restore order" there, which has seen significant protests for weeks.

'Force won't scare us'

Hussein, a 32-year-old lawyer from Nasiriya who was at the protest site, blamed security forces for what he called a "bloodbath".

"We had blocked off the roads and bridges over the past four days and security forces moved in on us to try to open up the bridges. They opened fire leading to a bloodbath," he told Al Jazeera.

"What's happening in Nasiriya is unbelievable. Nothing justifies this use of violence against us. We, the people, are extremely angry. Our blood is boiling. Our brothers were killed unjustifiably.

"But this use of force won't scare us. More of us have gone out to the streets to either demand justice for those who have been killed or keep the bridges under our control."

Khalifa, a 30-year-old protester, said most demonstrators in Nasiriya lost a brother or a friend during the bloody events on Thursday.

"The pain is deep and that only makes us more adamant to protest," he said. "We will stay in the streets until our demands are met - no matter what level of force is used against us."

The governor of Dhi Qar, Adel al-Dukhali, who had earlier blamed military commanders for the deadly violence, resigned in protest against the killings.

Al-Dukhali had called for an investigation into what he described as an "unacceptable" use of force against protesters.

Najaf attack

Wednesday's Najaf attack was the second of its kind this month after protesters attacked the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala on November 4.

The protesters were holding a demonstration in central Najaf when a group started to close off the main roads and set the tyres of police cars on fire.

A witness told Al Jazeera "security forces responded using tear gas and sound bombs to disperse the protesters who ran towards the Iranian embassy".

"The protesters were angered by the security forces trying to disperse the demonstration. They started burning tyres near the consulate and eventually set the consulate ablaze, minutes after the consulate staff evacuated the building," said the source.

Commenting on the developments, Iraqi analyst Jasim Moussawi said protesters setting the consulate ablaze was an attempt to tarnish historical relations between Tehran and Baghdad.

"Those who are responsible for setting fire to the Iranian consulate in Najaf have the same message as those who did it in Karbala. Their message is a warning against the intervention of Iran in Iraq's internal affairs," said Moussawi.

The violence will push the government to allow security forces to use more force to quell protests, he said.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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