Saturday, January 25, 2020

Several killed as Iraqi forces raid Baghdad protest camp

Iraqi security forces raided Baghdad’s main protest site on Saturday and tried to eject protesters in southern cities, firing tear gas and bullets killing four people and wounding dozens more, police and medical sources said.

The new push to end the sit-ins and restore order came hours after populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who counts millions of supporters in Baghdad and the south, said he would halt his involvement in anti-government unrest.

Sadr’s supporters, who had bolstered the anti-government protesters and sometimes played a role in protecting them from attacks by security forces and unidentified gunmen, began withdrawing from sit-ins early on Saturday after Sadr’s announcement.

Clashes then took place after authorities began removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square where anti-government demonstrators have camped out for months, and across at least one main bridge over the Tigris River in the capital, Reuters reporters said.

 Major crackdown on protestors in Iraq underway. Muqtada al-Sadr’s support was critical but it was withdrawn after he struck a deal with the government & Iran’s proxies - they have carte blanche to neutralise the protestors. Huge boost for Iran & its allies 

In the southern city of Basra, security forces raided the main anti-government sit-in overnight and deployed in force to stop protesters gathering there again, security sources said. 

Police arrested at least 16 protesters in the city, they said.

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