Police officer dead, 45 protesters injured in southern Iraqi clashes

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Members of security forces are seen in downtown Baghdad, Iraq, April 6, 2020. Iraqi Health Ministry on Monday said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,031, and the death toll reached 64 in the country. The Iraqi authorities have taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including extending a nationwide curfew until April 19. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
Members of security forces are seen in downtown Baghdad, Iraq, April 6, 2020. Iraqi Health Ministry on Monday said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,031, and the death toll reached 64 in the country. The Iraqi authorities have taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including extending a nationwide curfew until April 19. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)

dpa/GNA – A police officer was killed and 45 protesters wounded in renewed clashes in southern Iraq on Sunday, medical and security sources said.

Clashes erupted on Sunday in Nassiriyah after Iraqi protesters gathered at al-Habobi Square in the southern city to demand the release of demonstrators who had been detained amid ongoing demonstrations in the recent days, the sources told dpa.

Dozens of protesters torched car tyres and blocked a main road in the city on Sunday, the capital of the Dhi Qar province, witnesses said.

There has been heavy deployment of security forces on Sunday in Nassiriyah, mainly in al-Habobi Square, the epicentre of protests, they added.

The military-linked Security Media Cell said that one police officer was killed and 33 other police personnel injured in the Nassiriyah violence on Sunday, Iraq’s state news agency INA reported.
No mention was made as to potential casualties among protesters.

There have recently been daily protests in Nassiriyah, as people demand better services in the city and jobs for its residents.

Demonstrations have roiled Iraq since October 2019, with protesters calling for an overhaul of the country’s political system, which has been in place since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The protests, which were marred by a deadly crackdown, prompted then-prime minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi to resign in late November 2019.

The current government, led by Mustafa al-Kadhimi, is grappling with a deep economic crisis compounded by the fall in oil prices, the main source of Iraq’s income, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

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