BASRA: Anti-government protests descended into clashes in several Iraqi cities on Sunday, including the southern port city of Basra and the capital Baghdad.

In Basra, police officers and troops fired into the air to disperse around 500 protesters who had been throwing rocks, correspondents said.

Meanwhile, a few hundred young Iraqis returned to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square for a flash protest, clashing briefly with security forces.

Authorities had conducted a major operation to clear a year-long anti-government encampment from the square — the epicentre of the protest movement — and had only reopened it a day earlier. Further south in Hilla, hundreds of students marched with banners decrying the killing and kidnapping of activists in recent months.

“We’ll stay here, for the blood of our martyrs and the love of our country,” said Abrar Ahmed, a student demonstrator in the city.

“It’s our revolution and we must continue it, as not a single one of our demands were met!” she added.

A similar protest took place in the town of Kut, where dozens turned out to demand justice for some 600 demonstrators who have been killed in protest-related violence over the past year.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2020

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