Baghdad, 2 October 2019 (dpa/MIA) – One person was killed and 200 others wounded on Tuesday during protests across Iraq to demand better public services and jobs, a government statement said.
A joint statement by the ministries of interior and health said they regret that “peaceful protests” in the capital, Baghdad, and a number of provinces were spoilt by “violent acts by a group of rioters.”
The statement quoted the Health Ministry as saying that among those wounded are 40 from security forces.
It called for restraint and stressed solidarity with the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.
Prominent Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in a tweet called on the presidency, government and parliament to launch an urgent probe into “what happened in Tahrir Square.”
Earlier in the day, Iraqi security forces used tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to disperse hundreds of anti-government demonstrators in the Baghdad.
The demonstrators, who gathered near Tahrir Square in central Baghdad, were protesting against unemployment, government corruption and poor public services.
Witnesses told dpa that security forces emptied the square and drove the protesters away by firing tear gas and ammunition.
Some protesters tried to cross the Republic Bridge to reach the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, according to the witnesses.
The official Iraqi news agency INA reported that firefighters were trying to put out a fire that erupted at a Turkish restaurant near Liberation Square.
Security measures have been tightened to prevent more protesters from converging on Liberation Square.