Iraq’s nightmare continues as clashes between protesters and security forces reached a critical level of violence this Monday in the Khilani area nearby Tahrir square in Bagdad.
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The demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails to the law enforcement forces who attacked them with tear gas, shots to the air, and slingshots to knock them back.
"They are using various kinds of weapons against us, live ammunition, bullets, and tear gas. They hurt me in the face," said Allawi, a hooded protester who only gave his first name.
The night before, two protesters were shot dead by gunmen in the southern city of Nassiriya, and a district of Baghdad became a battleground on the third day of an extremely violent campaign by security forces to end months of demonstrations against the ruling elite.
According to health sources, at least five protesters were killed in clashes over the weekend. In the city of Nassiriya, at least 75 were injured, mostly by real ammunition, as security forces tried to move them away from the bridges.
Ambassadors from 16 countries in Baghdad, including the United States, France, and Britain, have condemned the use of real ammunition by the Iraqi security forces and called for a credible investigation after the death of more than 500 protesters since October.
Iraqi authorities began operations on Saturday to put an end to the protests that started in the capital and in other cities in the south in October. The protesters are demanding the removal of all politicians, free elections and an end to corruption.