On Friday, Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters clashed again in Baghdad despite the country's highest-ranking Shiite leader asking for calm when the authorities faced the country's biggest crisis in years.
The security forces have shed tears According to the Reuters news agency, protesters on a main street in the middle of the Iraqi capital with helmets and makeshift protective suits scattered the grenades and threw them with gas.
More than 260 people have been killed since protests over lack of jobs and services began in Baghdad on October 1
Greater Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who speaks only in times of crisis about politics and exerts a huge influence on public opinion in the Shiite majority Iraq blamed the security forces for any violent escalation and called on the government as soon as possible possible to respond to the demands of the demonstrators.
"The greatest responsibility lies with the security forces," a representative of al-Sistani said in a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Karbala. "You must avoid using excessive force with peaceful demonstrators."
Mohamed Jamjoum from Baghdad reported that the atmosphere in Tahrir Square was "determined" because the demonstrators were unimpressed by the violence.
"Protesters are required to continue to send the government the message that they will take to the streets until they are provided with basic services and the corruption ends."
"Will not Make a Difference"
Protesters, some of whom see al-Sistani as part of the political and religious system that they say is the cause of the plight of many Iraqis, took the words of the scholar little comfort.
"He says he supports protests and we should continue, but he did not help, the speech will not make a difference," said a woman who protested in Baghdad and whose son was killed in the recent clashes. 19659005] "I'm the mother of a student, they killed him," she told Reuters, calling her Umm al-Shaheed, Arabic for Martyr's mother.
The demonstrators, mostly unemployed youth, are calling for a revision of the political system and a corrupt ruling class that has dominated state institutions since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Living fire is still being used and tear canisters fired directly at protesters & # 39; bodies, instead of being thrown into mass, have killed at least 16 people, Hu On Friday, they shared Rights Watch with, while amnesty international reported that the canisters for military purposes came from Serbian and Iranian production.
Human rights groups have also sounded the alarm for arresting and intimidating activists and medical professionals who have been reported by unidentified security forces.
At Basra, at least five protesters were killed in clashes on Thursday and early Friday, with security forces attempting to reopen streets blocked by sit-ins.
For a week, demonstrators have blocked access to Basra's Umm Qasr port, which provides most of the food and medical imports from Iraq.
In Baghdad, six people died on Thursday, and faced security forces.
Early on Friday, al-Sistani warned against the exploitation of unrest by "internal and external" forces seeking to destabilize Iraq for their own ends. He did not comment on it.
He said the rulers needed to find a meaningful response to the demonstrations.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi came to power in October 2018 and pledged to crack down on unemployment and pledge the anger of protesters across the country accusing him of overseeing the bloody crackdown.
Handouts for the poor, pledges to try corrupt officials and create more employment opportunities for graduates have failed to reassure protesters who demand a new electoral system and include the removal of all current political leaders.
The demonstrators have also rejected foreign interference in Iraq, which has long been trapped between its two main allies and bitter rivals USA and Iran.
The rage in the public is particularly addressed Iran, which supports the parties and paramilitary groups that dominate the government of Baghdad and the state institutions.
The protests were rampant in the past month Corruption and lack of jobs escalated into calls for an end to the entire system of government.
Oil-rich Iraq is OPEC's second largest producer, but one in five lives in poverty and youth unemployment is 25 percent
According to Transparency International, it is the twelfth worst country in the world.