Iraq Protesters Killed in Clashes 11/21 06:17

Iraq Protesters Killed in Clashes      11/21 06:17

   BAGHDAD (AP) -- Renewed clashes overnight in Baghdad between anti-government 
demonstrators and security forces killed four protesters, Iraqi security and 
hospital officials said Thursday.

   The altercations on two key bridges in the Iraqi capital also left at least 
44 people wounded, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in 
line with regulations. Both bridges appeared to be calm by morning hours.

   Initial reports had two killed but the death toll later rose after two of 
the wounded protesters died of their wounds.

   Fighting also resumed overnight in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, south of 
Baghdad, between protesters and security forces.

   In Baghdad, one protester was killed when security forces used live rounds 
to repel demonstrators on Ahrar Bridge. The other protester was killed when a 
tear gas cannister was fired on Sinak Bridge, hitting him in the head.

   Two protester later succumbed to their injuries.

   Protesters have been occupying parts of Baghdad's three main bridges --- 
Sinak and Ahrar and Jumurhiya --- leading to the heavily fortified Green Zone, 
the seat of Iraq's government.

   Tents have been set up under the bridges and also on central Tahrir Square, 
the epicenter of the protest movement, where first-aid volunteers treat those 
wounded by pieces of exploded tear gas cannisters and live fire.

   "Around 1:30 a.m., the shooting started with live ammunition, tear gas, and 
sound grenades," said one volunteer, speaking on condition of anonymity for 
fear of government reprisal. "There were martyrs and we received several 
injured," people with breathing difficulties and bullet wounds.

   In Karbala, the protesters threw crudely made fire bombs, also known as 
Molotov cocktails, at security forces while anti-riot police responded by 
throwing stones at the protesters.

   Dozens of protesters had attacked the Iranian Consulate in this city earlier 
in November, scaling concrete barriers and saying they rejected the influence 
of the neighboring country in Iraqi affairs.

   At least 320 protesters have been killed and thousands have been wounded 
since the unrest began on Oct. 1, when demonstrators took to the streets in 
Baghdad and across Iraq's mainly Shiite south to decry rampant government 
corruption and lack of basic services despite Iraq's oil wealth.

   The leaderless movement seeks to dismantle the sectarian system and unseat 
the government, including Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi.


(KR)

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