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Iraqi police kill 3 in protests at Iranian Consulate in Karbala

Iraqi protesters try to remove the security forces' barricades on Al-Sarafiya Bridge and try to enter the road of the high-security Green Zone, where key government offices and foreign embassies are based, during ongoing anti-government demonstrations at Tahrir Square in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 30 October 2019. [Murtadha Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi protesters in Baghdad on 30 October 2019 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

At least three protestors have been killed as they stormed the Iranian consulate in the Shia holy city of Karbala, security sources have reported.

The dead were amongst a number of protestors who scaled the concrete barriers on the consulate perimeter in the city to the south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The violent protests saw protestors hanging Iraqi flags on the walls and spray-painting slogans such as "Karbala is free, Iran out, out!" on them.

Police and security forces fired in the air to disperse the crowds, and then used more extreme measures, including live ammunition and tear gas, said Al Jazeera.

Iraq's PM urges protesters to stop, says unrest is hurting the economy

The killing of the protestors comes amid an increasingly brutal official crackdown on demonstrations. At least 100 people had been killed by the end of last week.

The protests in Iraq have been ongoing for the past month, and are rooted in concerns over poor governance, official corruption and extremely high rates of unemployment and a lack of job opportunities.

The targeting of the Iranian Consulate also reveals, however, the dissatisfaction many Iraqis feel towards Tehran's influence in their politics and the extent to which they are interlinked.

Many protestors – who are mainly Shia in southern areas – view Iran as interfering in and infiltrating Iraq's political system following the ousting of long-time dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iran is known to have been responsible for and supported by the Shia militias which make up the Popular Mobilisation Forces throughout Iraq and the Levant.

Authoritarianism means instability, so Arab regimes need to be challenged

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