Iraqi police fought running street battles with anti-government demonstrators yesterday, firing tear and rubber bullets to try to disperse stone-throwing youths pressing for an overhaul of a political system they see as deeply corrupt.
One protester was killed in Baghdad while another succumbed to a bullet wound sustained on Monday in Baquba city, medical sources said, adding at least 50 demonstrators were wounded.
Violent clashes erupted for a third straight day in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square and in other southern cities including Basra and the holy Shi’ite cities of Kerbala and Najaf, with protesters hurling stones and petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
“Our protests is peaceful. We call for the resignation of the government and an independent prime minister who does not belong to any party,” said a hooded protester in Baghdad, who declined to give his name.
Anti-government unrest has crippled Iraq since Oct 1, with protesters demanding an end to what they say is deeply-rooted corruption and a ruling elite that has controlled Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. More than 450 people have been killed.
Yesterday’s unrest followed violent gatherings on Monday that killed six Iraqis, including two police officers, and wounded scores across the country.
Three rockets hit near US embassy
Three rockets hit near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital’s high-security Green Zone early yesterday, security sources told AFP, with no immediate reports of casualties. The US has blamed Iran-backed paramilitary groups for a spate of similar attacks in recent months on the Green Zone, but there has never been a claim of responsibility.