Baghdad deaths, injuries to be investigated, say authorities

Supporters of Iraqi Shia armed groups run from security forces after clashes during a protest against the election results in Baghdad, Iraq, November 5, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — An investigation has begun into the deaths and injuries of protesters and security forces after clashes in Baghdad on Friday, authorities said.

Hundreds of supporters of pro-Iran groups who are disputing the results of a general election in October clashed with security forces in Baghdad on Friday.

AFP reported that the protesters threw projectiles and “blocked… access to the [high-security] Green one” on three sides, before they were pushed back by police who fired in the air.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the incidents.

“The negligent will be brought to legal accountability for their negligence and violation of the explicit orders of the commander-in-chief, which stressed that live bullets should not be fired under any circumstances,” Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said on Friday.

Kadhimi also ordered compensation for victims of the clashes and decided to personally supervise the progress of the investigation, state news agency INA said.

It was the first significant violent clash between government forces and supporters of the political parties, most of which have armed wings and are aligned with Iran, since those groups lost dozens of parliament seats after the Oct. 10 vote.

Iraq’s Health Ministry confirmed 125 injuries in the clashes, according to Iraqi media.

The Hashid’s political arm saw its share of parliamentary seats decline substantially in October’s election, which the group’s supporters have denounced as “fraud.”

Militia supporters have pitched tents near the entrance to Baghdad’s Green Zone in an ongoing sit-in, threatening violence unless their grievances are addressed.

Iraq’s October 10 elections reinforced the parliamentary strength of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and saw a sharp decline in that of his adversaries, according to preliminary results.

A final tally from the ballot is expected in the coming weeks, but so far no bloc has a clear mandate.

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