Thousands of students flooded Iraqi streets yesteday to keep up their anti-government movement despite a crackdown, while rockets landed near the US embassy in Baghdad.
One protester was killed in the southern hotspot of Nasiriyah, with demonstrators defying gunshots and tear gas fired by riot police seeking to shut protest camps.
Activists have long worried that their months-long movement demanding a complete overhaul of Iraq’s political establishment could be snuffed out.
Stoking those concerns, firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr dropped his support for the protest movement on Friday, after holding an anti-US rally attended by thousands in
ROCKETS LAND NEAR US EMBASSY
Yesterday, two days after Sadr supporters demanded the departure of some 5,200 American troops from Iraq, a volley of rockets landed near the US embassy in Baghad’s Green Zone, two security sources said There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the latest this month to target the high-security zone, which is also home to the Iraqi parliament.
The rocket fire came as thousands of students rallied across the country yesterday, waving Iraqi flags and holding up two fingers in a victory sign in defiance of security forces who fired live rounds in a bid to clear them.
“Only for you, Iraq!” read a sign held by a young protester in the shrine city of Karbala, hinting at the movement’s insistence on not being affiliated with any political party or outside backer.
Violence has resurged in Baghdad Iraq’s south this week, with more than 15 people killed as anti-government activists stepped up road closures and sit-ins. On Saturday, four demonstrators were shot dead as riot police stormed protest camps across the country, according to medics, stoking fears of a broader crackdown.
In Basra, hundreds of students gathered to condemn the riot police’s dismantling of their main protest camp the previous day, according to an AFP correspondent.
In Baghdad, university students marched from a campus in the city centre to the main rally area of Tahrir Square.
Riot police fired live rounds and tear gas at clusters of young protesters in the nearby Khallani and Wathba squares, but protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails to keep them back.At least 17 protesters were wounded, a police source said.
Security forces have stopped short of entering Tahrir Square, where some protesters stood their ground even after many tents were dismantled.
In the southern city of Nasiriyah, security forces yesterday also fired live rounds to disperse protesters who were angered by authorities pushing them out of roads around their main protest camp in Habbubi Square.
One protester died after being shot by security forces and dozens more were impacted by tear gas in the brief skirmishes, a medical source said.
At least 75 protesters suffered bullet wounds and around 100 were impacted by tear gas in brief skirmishes, a medical source said.
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