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Iraqi police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Baghdad
International

Iraqi police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Baghdad

Agency News

Baghdad, 25 Oct 2019: Security forces in the Iraqi capital Baghdad have fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators trying to march on government buildings.

Some unconfirmed reports said that the two people had died after being hit by tear gas and scores were injured. Restless protesters raised demands of more jobs, better public services and an end to corruption.

The protest was as part of protesting the first anniversary of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi taking office. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Thursday evening and many camped out overnight. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi warned on Thursday that although people could exercise their right to demonstrate, violence would not be tolerated. Early on Friday they crossed a bridge, bringing them close to the Green Zone where government buildings and foreign embassies are located.

According to witnesses, security forces then fired a volley of tear gas to drive them back. Similar anti-government protests earlier this month were brutally put down by security forces, leaving nearly 150 people dead. Ahead of the latest rallies, Iraq's leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, used his weekly sermon on Friday to call for restraint.

Though Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has promised a cabinet reshuffle but many remain unconvinced.