A protestor has been shot dead and masses battered during violence at a rally in Baghdad where thousands assembled to request mandated accountability for the murder of prominent Iraqi activists and protesters.
On Tuesday morning, what kicked off as a cheery wave of demonstrations in Tahrir Square saw tensions turn during the day into violence as security forces cracked down on protesters in the early evening.
Social media displayed tear gas, live fire and chaos reminiscent of October 2019 when the nationwide social uprising first began, and several protesters were shot dead by security forces.
Since then, almost 600 demonstrators have been killed, and 35 activists have died in 82 targeted killings, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR)
The killing that sparked Tuesday’s protests took place on May 9, when civil activist Ihab Jawad al-Wazni was killed near his home in Karbala, and calls were made by his family for demonstrators to demand an end to impunity.
The perpetrators have yet to be identified, but activists and demonstrators point the finger at rogue Iran-backed militias, whose presence in Iraq demonstrators have been called out regularly.
Ali al-Bayati of the IHCHR said security forces must also be held accountable.
“Only with these means can we reach the real criminals and put an end to the continuous impunity,” said al-Bayati, adding that Tuesday’s protests were against “what is going on in the streets against the activists, including the continuous assassinations, which are part of the systematic violence”.