Anti-govt protesters take cover during clashes with security forces on Rasheed Street, Baghdad on Tuesday. Khalid Mohammed/AP
Iraqi officials said on Wednesday that three protesters were killed and 35 wounded by security forces in southern Iraq after the previous day’s sit-ins and road closures, raising the death toll to six people.
Two of the anti-government protesters were killed when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse crowds in the holy city of Karbala late on Tuesday, security and medical officials said. One protester died of wounds suffered when a tear gas canister struck him in clashes earlier in the day. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Demonstrations had raged in Baghdad and across the mostly southern Iraq. The protesters accuse the Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment. At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded since Iraq’s protests started Oct.1, in what has become the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history.
Three simultaneous explosions rocked Baghdad late on Tuesday, killing five people and wounding more than a dozen, Iraqi officials said, in the first apparent coordinated attack since anti-government protests erupted. The bombings took place far from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government protests that have posed the biggest security challenge to Iraq since the defeat of Daesh.
Roads between Karbala and Baghdad were blocked by protesters on Wednesday. Demonstrators have burned tires and cut access to main roads in several southern provinces in recent days.
In the southern city of Basra, protesters continued to cut roads to the main Gulf commodities port in Umm Qasr, reducing trade activity by 50%, according to port officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
Protesters in Baghdad are occupying part of three key bridges - Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinak - in a standoff with security forces.
Populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, who leads parliament's largest bloc, had asked Abdul Mahdi to call an early election. When the premier refused, he called on his main political rival Hadi al-Amiri to help oust him.
The altercations on two key bridges in the Iraqi capital also left at least 44 people wounded, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. Both bridges appeared to be calm by morning hours.
Separately, a Katyusha rocket landed near the fortified Green Zone, Iraq’s seat of government, police officials said. There were no casualties from the incident. Last week two rockets landed in Tigris river and a stadium, both near the Green Zone.
GCAA said only passenger flights carrying UAE residents and visitors wishing to return back to their respective home countries have been temporarily allowed after ensuring all relevant precautionary measures required by the Ministry of Health and Prevention have been taken.
The Ministry of Community Development is keeping pace with World Autism Awareness Day under the theme “From Transition to Adulthood” with a series of innovative initiatives and events targeting children with autism, families and parents, autism centres, and all members of the community continuing throughout April to promote sustainable awareness.
With homes having been converted into temporary workplaces in these Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) times, a Dubai-based Orthopedics and Sports Injuries consultant has suggested ways to prevent lower back and neck pain in the possible absence of ergonomic chairs that support posture, weight and lumbar while sitting.