- Title: Timeline of Iraq protests 2019
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF BARBERS SHAVING MEN'S HAIR Protesters carrying candles marched through the streets of Iraq's holy city Kerbala on November 2 to commemorate those killed in the biggest wave of anti-government demonstrations since the fall of Saddam Hussein. KERBALA, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 2, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WALKING CARRYING IRAQI FLAGS AND CANDLES PROTESTERS SITTING AROUND CANDLES PROTESTERS STANDING BY IRAQI FLAGS PLACED IN A ROW SURROUNDED BY CANDLES VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING, CARRYING FLAGS, CANDLES AND POSTERS Protesters attacked the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi holy city of Kerbala on November 3, burning tyres and chanting ''Iran out, Kerbala remains free'' KERBALA, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 3, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF TYRES BURNING / PROTESTERS GATHERED OUTSIDE IRANIAN CONSULATE IN KERBALA At least five people were killed as Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters in Baghdad on November 4, a Reuters witness said, as thousands continued to gather. BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 4, 2019) (REUTERS) SECURITY FORCES IN ANTI-RIOT GEAR WALKING WITH PROTESTERS TUK TUKS AND AMBULANCE SPEEDING THROUGH STREET / PROTESTERS RUNNING TEAR GAS BEING FIRED AT PROTESTERS Iraqi security forces opened fire on November 6 to disperse protesters gathered on a bridge in central Baghdad, shooting live bullets in the air, a Reuters witness said. There appeared to be no casualties. Protesters had blocked the Shuhada Bridge since November 5 as part of efforts to bring the country to a standstill, with thousands continuing to partake in anti-government demonstrations in the capital and southern provinces. BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 6, 2019) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS BEHIND WALL AND MAKESHIFT BARRICADES AS POLICE FIRE LIVE AMMUNITION / BULLET LANDING CLOSE TO PROTESTERS (AUDIO OF GUNFIRE) SHUHADA BRIDGE IN BACKGROUND AS SECURITY FORCES SHOOT TOWARDS PROTESTERS (AUDIO OF GUNFIRE) Security forces fired tear gas at anti-government protesters in Baghdad on November 10 injuring at least 22 people, police and medical sources said, a day after they pushed demonstrations back towards one main square in the Iraqi capital. One person died in hospital of wounds sustained in clashes the previous day, the sources said. BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 10, 2019) (REUTERS) SECURITY FORCES CHASING PROTESTERS, SMOKE RISING ON STREET TEAR GAS CANISTER EXPLODING (AUDIO OF ANOTHER TEAR GAS CANISTER EXPLODING) PROTESTERS THROWING ROCKS AT SECURITY FORCES, PROTESTERS GATHERED BEHIND MAKESHIFT BARRICADE MEMBER OF SECURITY FORCES BEHIND MAKESHIFT BARRICADE USING SLINGSHOT TO FIRE PROJECTILE AT PROTESTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER, SAYING: "We are not Daesh (Islamic State) militants. We are youth, demanding our rights, no more, no less. Give us our rights. We want our rights." SECURITY FORCES MEMBER FIRING TEAR GAS CANISTER Thousands of Iraqi protesters in the oil-rich city of Basra on November 11 marched through the streets calling for the departure of the entire ruling elite. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's government had taken some measures to try to quell unrest which has swept through the country, including handouts to the poor and job opportunities for college graduates, but failed to keep up with growing demands of demonstrators who are now calling for an overhaul of Iraq's sectarian political system. Protesters vowed to keep demonstrating until their demands are met. BASRA, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 11, 2019) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING SECURITY FORCES VEHICLES DRIVING BY PROTESTERS, PROTESTERS SHOUTING, SHAKING FISTS IN AIR PROTESTERS CHANTING (Arabic): "THEY SAID WE ARE TERRORISTS BECAUSE WE DEMONSTRATE DAILY" PROTESTERS MARCHING, PROTESTER CARRYING POSTER READING (Arabic): "I AM TAKING TO THE STREETS TO TAKE BACK MY RIGHTS" MAN ON MOTORCYCLE SHOUTING AT PROTESTERS (Arabic): "MY SONS, KEEP YOUR PROTESTS PEACEFUL. BEWARE OF SABOTEURS, BEWARE OF IMPOSTORS WHO ARE WITH YOU NOW. STOP THEM, CATCH THEM, THIS IS YOUR GREAT IRAQ." Iraqi forces launched tear gas canisters on throughout November 12 and 13 to disperse protesters heading for Sinak bridge which leads to the Green Zone, Iranian embassy and other government offices. At least 300 protesters have been killed, most by security forces firing live ammunition into crowds, since the protests against political corruption. BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS RUNNING PROTESTERS RUNNING AND TUK TUKS DRIVING THROUGH CLOUDS OF TEARGAS / AUDIO OF SIREN INJURED PROTESTER BEING CARRIED AND PLACED IN TUK TUK INJURED PROTESTER BEING TAKEN OUT OF TUK TUK AND PLACE INTO AMBULANCE SMOKE RISING, PROTESTERS GATHERED BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) PROTESTER CARRYING TEAR GAS CANISTER AND RUNNING TOWARD SECURITY FORCES VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS TRYING TO PICK UP TEAR GAS CANISTER PROTESTERS WASHING TEAR GAS AWAY FROM EYES WITH WATER VARIOUS OF TEACHERS PROTESTING AND CHANTING An improvised explosive device went off in Baghdad's Tayaran Square on Friday November 15, killing two people and injuring 12. It was not immediately clear if the incident was related to anti-government protests going on in the capital's nearby Tahrir Square. BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FILE - NOVEMBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BURNT OUT CAR / IRAQI FLAG CANDLE AT THE BLAST LOCATION
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 10:25
- Keywords: Iranian consulate in Najaf set on fire Iraq protests Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi police shooting protests
- Location: BAGHDAD, NAJAF, NASSIRIYA, KERBALA, BASRA AND AL ASAD AIR BASE, AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: BAGHDAD, NAJAF, NASSIRIYA, KERBALA, BASRA AND AL ASAD AIR BASE, AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Civil Unrest,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA007BA8UXC7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hundreds of Iraqis have died in clashes between protesters and the security forces during street demonstrations that caught the authorities by surprise.
They were the first major deadly protests for more than a year.
WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTESTING?
Iraqis are fed up. Two years after the defeat of Islamic State much of the country's nearly 40 million population live in worsening conditions despite the country's oil wealth.
Security is better than it has been in years, but wrecked infrastructure has not been rebuilt and jobs are scarce. Youth blame this squarely on what they see as corrupt leaders who do not represent them.
WHY ARE CONDITIONS SO BAD?
After decades of war against its neighbours, U.N. sanctions, two U.S. invasions, foreign occupation and sectarian civil war, the defeat of the Islamic State insurgency in 2017 means Iraq is now at peace and free to trade for the first extended period since the 1970s. Oil output is at record levels.
But infrastructure is decrepit and deteriorating, war-damaged cities have yet to be rebuilt and armed groups still wield power on the streets.
A culture of corruption has persisted since the era of dictator Saddam Hussein and has become entrenched under the rule of sectarian political parties that emerged after his fall.
WHAT SPARKED THE LATEST PROTESTS? WHO ORGANIZED THEM?
The protests do not appear to be coordinated by a particular political group. Social media calls for protests gathered pace early this week. The turnout appeared to take security forces by surprise.
The inadequacy of state services and the lack of jobs are the principal reasons for public anger. A series of political moves by the government has contributed, especially the demotion of a popular wartime military officer for reasons that have not been fully explained. Some at the demonstrations were protesting over the commander's removal.
ARE MASS PROTESTS RARE IN IRAQ?
Major protests took place mainly in the southern city of Basra in September last year. Nearly 30 people were killed.
Since then, sporadic demonstrations have taken place but not on the scale of this week's events. These were the first large demonstrations against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's government, which took office in October last year.
IS THE UNREST SECTARIAN?
No. Most Iraqis have sought to avoid sectarian rhetoric after the brutal experience of Sunni hardline Islamic State - although sectarian tension still exists. These protests are about worsening economic and living conditions and are taking place mostly in Baghdad and the Shi'ite Muslim-dominated south, but cut across ethnic and sectarian lines. Anger is directed at a political class, not a sect.
That contrasts with protests in 2012 and 2013 that Islamic State exploited to rally support among Sunnis.
More than 440 people, mostly unarmed protesters but also some members of the security forces, have been killed since Oct. 1, according to a Reuters tally.
Protesters blame Iran-backed militia groups for a spate of other killings including assassinations. Many activists have been arrested or have disappeared, local rights groups say.
Paramilitary groups have denied any role in attacking protests. Government security forces also deny using live ammunition against peaceful protesters.
As demonstrations enter their third month, violence is spiralling with an increase in threats, kidnappings and killings of activists and protesters, according to activists and security sources.
The protests have led resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, but many said this is not enough. Protesters demanded the overhaul of a political system that they say is corrupt and keeps them in poverty and without opportunity.
The unrest is Iraq's biggest challenge since Islamic State militants seized swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory in 2014.
(Production: Bushra Shakhshir, Vin Shahrestani)
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