Iraqi troops kill protesters in Baghdad and Basra; turmoil heightens
Iraqi security forces shot dead at least six anti-government protesters in Baghdad
Baghdad: Six demonstrators in Baghdad and five others in Basra were shot dead by Iraq's security forces on Thursday as they were trying to remove barriers blocking their march in Central Baghdad, the police and medical officials said
The demonstrators were trying to reach the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies. According to sources, over 35 people were wounded in clashes near the capital city's Shuhada Bridge as mass protests continued for a 13th-straight day, reported Al Jazeera.
As the demonstrators tried to remove barriers near two bridges that lead to the western bank of the Tigris River, the security forces have blocked all the bridges leading to the Green Zone.
As per security officials, additional security arrangements were made at the entrances leading to the Green Zone.
Security forces used live fire against protesters near Shuhada Bridge in central Baghdad. Gunfire was used against demonstrators in Basra, the main source of Iraq's oil wealth, who had staged a days-long sit-in.
Elsewhere in southern Iraq, dozens of protesters burned tyres and blocked the entrance to the port of Umm Qasr, preventing lorries from transporting food imports, just hours after operations had resumed, port officials said.
Demanding political change, tens of thousands of protestors have taken to the streets since October in Baghdad and other parts of the country. The agitators complain of widespread corruption, a lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, including regular power cuts despite Iraq's vast oil reserves.
It is estimated that as many as 250 people have been killed since the unrest erupted on October 1.
The Iraqi government has failed to find a way out of the biggest and most complicated challenge it has faced in years. The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of Islamic State in 2017.