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Sunday, 08 December 2019

1 killed, 40 wounded in renewed clashes between protesters and security forces in Baghdad

The officials say the clashes happened in the Khilani area, not far from the epicenter of the protest movement in Tahrir Square, hours after demonstrators celebrated Iraq's 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Iran

AP , Friday 15 Nov 2019
Baghdad protest
Riot police fire tear gas while protesters set fire during clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-Government protesters in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 (Photo: AP)
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Iraqi medical and security officials say one protester was killed and over 40 were wounded in renewed clashes overnight in central Baghdad.

Protesters have called for large protests to take place on Friday as Iraqi authorities continue to clamp down on the anti-government demonstrations.

The officials say the clashes happened in the Khilani area, not far from the epicenter of the protest movement in Tahrir Square, hours after demonstrators celebrated Iraq's 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Iran.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

At least 320 people have been killed and thousands have been wounded since the unrest began on Oct. 1, when protesters took to the streets in the tens of thousands.

Amnesty International has said that security forces in Baghdad have fired tear gas grenades directly into the crowd.

But Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari said Thursday an investigation has confirmed the tear gas cannisters responsible for protester deaths were not purchased by the government.

The protesters are outraged by what they say is widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, including electricity cuts, despite the country's vast oil wealth.

They have so far rejected government proposals for economic and constitutional reforms and are calling on the entire political leadership to resign, including the Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

Iraqi protesters say the intensifying crackdown has been instilling fear and reducing turnout, but have renewed calls for people to return to the streets.

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