24 September 2020
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Three Baghdad protesters dead and 47 others wounded since Sunday: Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights

Tuesday, 10 March 2020 21:34

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Three protesters have been killed and 47 others wounded since Sunday in clashes with Iraqi security forces in the capital’s infamous Khilani Square, according to an official statement by the semi-independent Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR).

“Due to the clashes that occured on March 8 and 9 between protesters and security forces, at least 3 protesters have died,” the statement reads.  “Also 58 people have been wounded in the ongoing clashes,” the statement added. 

Rudaw English obtained the statement from the watchdog via WhatsApp message late Monday.

The IHCHR confirmed that out of the 58 wounded people, 47 are  protesters and 11 are security force members.

The statement also confirmed security forces’ use of hunting guns and live ammunition against the protesters in Khilani Square.

“The usage of live ammunition and hunting rifles by security forces against the protesters in Khilani square has resumed,” the statement reads.  “Also Molotov cocktails and marbles have been used by both sides.”

Amnesty Iraq also confirmed in a tweet on Monday that security forces had resumed their usage of live ammunition in Khilani Square against protesters.

“We amnesty are receiving reports of security forces in Iraq renewing  use of live ammunition against protesters in Baghdad ‘s Khilani  Square, resulting in a number of casualties and injuries,” Amnesty Iraq tweeted.  

Last week, Amnesty International reported that Iraqi security forces have used grenade launchers, air rifles, birdshot, slingshots, batons, and rifles to disperse the protests in Baghdad and other southern  provinces.

However, Karim Alewi, a member of the Iraqi parliament who sits on the  security committee, has vehemently denied the accusations. 

“Tear gas canisters have been used by security forces against protesters in the past, but not anymore, and as a member of the security committee of the Iraqi parliament I assure you that live ammunition and birdshot has never been used, since day one,” Alewi told Rudaw English on Friday.

Khilani Square is several hundred meters away from Tahrir Square, which has become the thumping heart of the anti-government protests. 

The overwhelmingly young crowd initially limited its demands  to improvements in public services, employment opportunities, and  action against corruption. However, since the bloody crackdown by security forces and pro-government  militias, their demands have grown with calls for the complete  overthrow of the post-2003 elite.

More than 600 people have been killed and around 18,000 injured in  clashes, according to Amnesty International.

Source: Rudaw

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