On the afternoon of 26 February, a number of protesters advanced towards the Dhi Qar Governorate building for the fifth consecutive day of protests in Nasiriyah city. Protesters threw rocks against Riot Police, and lit tire fires on the Nasr and Hadharat bridges. Riot Police responded by firing tear gas canisters and small arms fire into the air in order to disperse the protesters. The situation escalated later that afternoon, with protesters torching a portion of the Dhi Qar Governorate building. ISF likewise escalated their use of force, with the situation finally normalizing that evening.
According to medical sources, six protesters were killed, and over 130 protesters and security personnel were injured. This included at least 13 protesters who sustained gunshot wounds, with two in serious condition. Further casualty refinements are anticipated. With six fatalities, the 26 February protests form one of the deadliest incidents affecting protesters over the past year. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi banned the use of small arms fire during protests at the onset of his administration. In conjunction with other directives, the intensity of violence affecting protesters during demonstrations dropped sharply from historic heights. Much of the controversy shifted to the violence perpetrated by Iranian-backed militias and other non-state actors.
For further discussion and analysis, please see the full report.