From Human Rights Watch (HWR):
(Erbil) – Iraqi security forces fired tear gas canisters into crowds, killing at least eight protesters, during demonstrations in Baghdad on October 25, 2019. Although forces in Baghdad refrained from using live rounds, at demonstrations in southern cities, protesters attempted to burn down Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashad or PMF) office buildings, leading forces inside to open fire and kill protesters. In Basra, a police vehicle drove into a crowd of protesters, injuring some.
“Even facing violent attacks by protesters, security forces are required to limit their response strictly to what is proportionate and necessary to maintain order,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “What we’ve now seen time and again are Iraqi security forces resorting to unnecessary force, even against nonviolent protesters.”
Protests started in Baghdad and Shia-majority governorates in southern Iraq on October 1, with protesters demanding improved services and more action to curb corruption. Between October 1 and 9, Human Rights Watch documented how security forces used excessive lethal force in confronting rock-throwing protesters, killing 149 and injuring 5,494. Security forces also shot at protesters as they dispersed and sprayed them with scalding water.
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