At least 125 people have been injured in fierce clashes between the Iraqi law enforcement and protesters, as angry crowds attempted to storm Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.
According to local media, videos posted on social media show protestors claiming fraud during the recent parliamentary election. They pelt security officers with rocks and were wearing riot gear.
— alaa ameen (@alaa_am89) November 5, 2021
A crowd of some 300 protesters reportedly attempted to break into the heavily fortified Green Zone, housing Iraqi government buildings and foreign embassies – including the US diplomatic compound – but apparently failed to do so.
????????????- An anti-riot team withdraws from the bridge. Protestors move to Baghdad’s gate of the greenzone. pic.twitter.com/z4wZuoDVU1
— ابن ڪربلاء???????????????? (@IbnAlRafidayn) November 5, 2021
One of the entrances to the Green Zone of Baghdad was set on fire by militants affiliated with the IR & its supporters in the wake of violent protests against the results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections & their heavy defeat in this election. pic.twitter.com/BgQgxgUmUY
— IranProtests.com (@IranProtestsCom) November 5, 2021
They also set up tents to hold a sit-in in the vicinity. According to reports, the encampment burned down Friday night.
The videos showed Baghdad covered in smoke and charred by street fires.
You can hear gunfire in some videos. However, their source remains a mystery. Al Jazeera and Reuters both reported that live ammunition was fired by police into the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters.
Pro-Iranian Shiite party supporters are suspected to have been among the demonstrators. They suffered significant losses in recent parliamentary elections, which were held on October 10. These parties challenged the outcome, alleging ballot fraud and irregularities. The majority of the 1,300 appeals made by a group of Shia groups to the Iraqi electoral commission have been rejected.
The protestors took to the streets Friday, awaiting the official release of final vote results. “the last chance for the government [and the] election commission to hold a recount of all the votes,” Al Jazeera.
According to social media, the riots continued well into the night as protesters set fire to barricades, set them on fire and burned parked vehicles.
There have been unconfirmed reports about at least two deaths among the protesters, but the rumors have not been confirmed by Iraq’s Health Ministry. The ministry stated that the majority of the injured were law and security officers. Only 27 civilians were among those who were injured.
No gunshot wounds and no deaths were reported, the ministry claimed, adding that most injuries were “mild to moderate.”
Baghdad: Fighting between Iraqi security force and protesters (members and supporters) of the PMF/political Parties/Militias, who are protesting election results. pic.twitter.com/2m3FnKR47I
— Steven Nabil (@thestevennabil) November 5, 2021
Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered an investigation into Friday’s violence.
In response to the massive protests in 2019 against corruption, poverty and unemployment, early elections took place last month. While many Shia parties suffered losses in support during the election, most notable gains were realized by Muqtada, a powerful Shiite cleric, who won 73 of the total 329 seats. Al-Sadr’s bloc is now expected to seek coalition partners to form a new government.
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