At least one killed, dozens wounded as security forces use live fire, tear gas against protesters

Demonstrations in Baghdad, Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Diwaniyah
Protest in Baghdad. October 1, 2019 (NRT Digital Media)

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SULAIMANI — An anti-corruption protest in Baghdad turned violent on Tuesday (October 1) when the security forces attacked demonstrators with live fire, tear gas, batons, and water cannons.

The Ministry of Health confirmed that at least one person had been killed.

More than 200 people were wounded.

A government statement and a health ministry spokesman said 40 members of the security forces were among those injured, according to Reuters. They did not say where the death took place.

“A number of the wounded have left the hospitals after receiving treatment. Only 50 wounded are still in the hospitals,” the statement said.

The government statement blamed “groups of riot inciters” for the violence and said the security forces were working to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters.

The main protest drew hundreds of people to Tahrir Square in the central part of the city, where the crowd chanted anti-corruption slogans and demanded an end to partisan decision-making in government.

Some protesters were also angry at the recent dismissal of the popular head of the Counterterrorism Service, Abdulwahab al-Saadi.

The protesters had attempted to cross the Jamhuriya bridge to the Green Zone on the other side of the Tigris River, but the security forces were deployed and blocked their path. According to reports, this is where the gunfire allegedly took place.

As night fell on the city, protesters began burning debris and set fire to at least one vehicle belonging to the security forces.

Iraqi interior minister Yassin al-Yasiri arrived at Tahrir Street in Baghdad in the evening in an effort to ease the tensions.

Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights member Ali al-Bayati said that the security forces had used tear gas to disperse the protesters and that one of their members had been injured.

Similar protests also took place in Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Diwaniyah.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 9:39 p.m.