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ISF disperse anticipated demonstration in Baghdad

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In Baghdad, reporting focused on an anticipated demonstration at Tahrir Square on 1 October. To recall, civil activists called for a “million-man march” in order to demand employment opportunities, the provision of appropriate government services and government reform. On the morning of 1 October, approximately 100 individuals demonstrated at Tahrir Square. Protesters demanded the provision of essential government services, employment opportunities and government reform. Some protesters chanted slogans in favor of Counter Terrorism Service commander Lieutenant General Abdul Wahab al-Saadi. A protester identified as Mohammed Kadhim stated that the current government is full of “empty promises and lies.”

Later that afternoon, as many as 3,000 individuals had gathered at Tahrir Square and attempted to traverse the Jomhuriya Bridge towards the International Zone. In response, security forces fired tear gas and water cannons in order to disperse the protest. However, protesters refused to disperse, and security forces subsequently fired live rounds into the air. According to a local security source, three protesters were killed as a result. Iraq’s Ministry of Health later confirmed that 286 civilians and 30 security personnel were wounded during the clashes. Many of the injured were treated for tear gas inhalation and rubber bullets wounds.

Demonstrations were also reported in the cities of Amara in Maysan province and Kut in Wasit province. In a routine response, security forces imposed heightened security measures in the affected areas. No escalation was reported in either incident. Meanwhile, in Basra city, dozens of individuals conducted an unauthorized demonstration at the Arusa Roundabout. Security forces responded and dispersed the protest, and temporarily detained 11 individuals. Additional demonstrations in response to the perceived heavy-handed security measures are possible in Baghdad and other cities across Iraq over the near-term.

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