In recent clashes with security forces, at least nine people have been killed in Iraq. Six protesters allegedly were killed in the capital Baghdad, three other demonstrators in southern Basra. For weeks, people in the country have been protesting against corruption and political reform.
Security forces use force and tear gas against protesters
Three demonstrators were shot dead at the central protest camp on Tahrir Square, another hit by a tear gas grenade on the face, security officials and medical officials said. A doctor reported hearing shots of live ammunition as the forces approached.
A few hours earlier, security forces had massively used tear gas to regain control of the Tigris bridges Al-Sinek, Al-Shoeada, and Al-Ahrar, news agency AFP reports. The three bridges connected the protest camps on the eastern Tigris shore with the western river bank, where government offices and foreign embassies are based.
The Al-Sinek Bridge has been the most important connection of the demonstrators to the embassy of Iran. Parts of the protest movement accuse the neighboring country of supporting the government in Baghdad. The bridges Al-Ahrar and Al-Schuhada lead to the office of the Prime Minister and the headquarters of the state television.
Parliamentary negotiations on reforms should be imminent
Also in the south of the country, security forces used force against protesters. In Basra, security forces released a protest camp. According to doctors, three people were killed and dozens more injured during the operation.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who had been pressured by the protests, had previously announced a government reshuffle, with head of state Barham Saleh announcing new elections.
Since the protests began on October 1, almost 300 people have been killed. The government has recently published no more figures on deaths.