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Iraq protests become bloody

A protester in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 13 November 2019 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]
A protester in Iraq's capital Baghdad on 13 November 2019 [Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

As protests in Baghdad and nine southern Iraqi provinces entered their second consecutive month, the bloody scene dominated the demonstrations, amid security unrest and dozens of casualties on Monday.

The governorates of Basra, Nasiriyah and Karbala witnessed a new bloody night after the security forces used live bullets and tear gas to repel the demonstrators who filled the streets.

The demonstrators spread in the streets since the early morning and took control of several bridges and main roads in the governorates of Basra, Nasiriyah and Karbala, amid continuing operations of hit-and-run between them and the security forces trying to disperse them.

The demonstrators set fire to dozens of tires to limit the movement of military vehicles and to prevent the employees from attending their work at their regular in working hours, reported Al-Quds Al-Arabi from eyewitnesses.

Also, the commander of the Iraqi armed forces said on Monday that 11 security officers were wounded after being targeted by an outlaw group in a hand grenade near Al-Ahrar bridge in central Baghdad, followed by the use of Molotov bottles." He added that "security forces arrested several outlaws and are still pursuing these groups," according to the Iraqi News Agency.

A deadlock

Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament has held a regular session on Monday to discuss the draft electoral law in Iraq and the requirement to form a new electoral committee whose administration would not represent the main parties. These two matters are part of the demonstrators' most essential demands to reform the political regime.

READ: Iraq protesters block main port, roads leading to oil fields

Since the beginning of October, all attempts by the authority to contain the ongoing widespread protests in central and southern Iraq have been stalled. The latest of these attempts was the "document of honour", signed by political blocs, forces and alliances a few days ago. The document includes pledges of carrying out reforms and achieving results within 45 days. This was rejected by the protesters, who stick to their demands, on top of which the ousting of the government of Adel Abdul-Mahdi and all the ruling powers since 2003 that are accused of "corruption and inefficiency", in addition to fighting corruption and holding corrupt figures accountable.

Summoning of officials including a former minister

The Iraqi Commission of Integrity announced on Monday that the court investigating the integrity issues in the governorates of Karbala had issued summoning orders against a number of Iraqi officials, including the former Minister of Health and the Chairman of Najaf Investment Commission.

The summoning orders were issued against the former minister of health and the general director of the ministry's projects and engineering services department, an official in the projects and engineering services department, and four other engineers who are members of the technical committee for granting compensation in the same department.

Military coup

In a related context, the counter-terrorism body in Iraq revealed on Monday the truth about the declaration of a "military coup" in the country. The Joint Operations Command explained that hackers published the call for a military coup on the counter-terrorism body's page.

READ: 3 Iraq lawyers were abducted by armed militias

"The official page of the counter-terrorism body has been hacked, and the investigations are ongoing to prosecute the perpetrators," sated the Joint Operations Command, adding that what was circulated in this page about the existence of civil disobedience is untrue and discredited.

A statement on order by the head of the counter-terrorism body to carry out a "military coup" had previously been published on the body's website and was later deleted.

Since the beginning of October, Iraq has been witnessing the most massive wave of protests since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, demanding the improvement of living conditions, combat of corruption, dismissal of the government, dissolution of parliament, and the holding of early elections. The demonstrations resulted in the death of at least 350 people.

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