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Tear gas canisters kill four Iraq protesters amid 'sabotage' attempts by security forces Open in fullscreen

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Tear gas canisters kill four Iraq protesters amid 'sabotage' attempts by security forces

Rights groups have slammed the 'gruesome' misuse of tear gas canisters [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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At least four Iraqi protesters died on Thursday after suffering 'gruesome wounds' from exploding tear gas canisters fired by security forces.
Four protesters were killed by tear gas canisters in Baghdad on Thursday, medics told AFP, the latest deaths from what rights groups have slammed as a "gruesome" misuse of the weapon.

The medical sources said the protesters were hit near Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the epicentre of the weeks-long movement for sweeping political reform.

The United Nations had already documented 16 deaths from the military-grade canisters, which are up to 10 times heavier than regular tear gas grenades and can pierce skulls or lungs.

Amnesty International found that  demonstrators suffered "gruesome wounds and death after the grenades embed inside their heads."

The latest casualties came as the embattled government faces new pressure from the United Nations to enact reforms, including constitutional amendments and changes to the electoral law.

'Sabotage'

Activists have accused security forces of attempting to sabotage the popular anti-government protests, which have continued despite the fierce response from authorities.

Mohammed al-Moussawi, one of the protesters, told The New Arab's Arabic-language website that security forces had started fires at the protests in order to create chaos.
 
He stressed that demonstrators have invited the media and international and local organisations to monitor the actions of security forces, who he alleged were seeking to distort the protests.

More than 330 people have been killed, most of them protesters, since demonstrations erupted in Baghdad and the Shia-majority south on 1 October.

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