Death toll from Iraqi protests climbs to 254: UN
At least 254 people have so far lost their lives amid anti-government protests in Iraq that started early October, said a report issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on Nov. 5.
The report, titled “Demonstrations in Iraq: update, 25 October - 4 November 2019”, said a total of 97 protestors were killed amid the second wave of demonstrations storming capital Baghdad, central and southern territories of the country.
Stressing that UNAMI has found serious human rights violations and abuses during the protests, the report underlined thousands of other protestors were also injured.
The report attributed at least 16 deaths -- and many serious injuries -- to demonstrators being hit by tear gas canisters.
“There is no justification for security forces to fire tear gas canisters or sound and flash devices directly at unarmed demonstrators,” said Danielle Bell, chief of the UNAMI Human Rights Office.
UN's earlier report covering the first wave of protests in Iraq had said a total of 157 protestors were killed and 5,494 others were wounded.
Meanwhile, a group of protestors in southern Iraq set fire to the homes of three lawmakers on Nov. 5 from different political blocs.
The incident took place in al-Shatrah district in Dhi Qar province.
The houses belonged to Naji al-Satra from the Sairoon parliamentary bloc backed by influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, Muna al-Gurabi from the Fatah Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri and Zeynep al-Hazreci from the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Firefighters are attempting to extinguish the fires. No casualties were reported.
Iraq has been rocked by a second wave of protests since Oct. 25 against deep-seated corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services. At least 260 people have been killed and 12,000 others injured since then, according to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights.
Anger has been mounting in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many people have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.
According to World Bank figures, Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25 percent. Iraq is also ranked the 12th most corrupt country in the world by several transparency organizations.