Demonstrators in the Iraq capital's protest camp were shot down by unidentified gunmen on Friday evening. The attack injured 47 while killing 19, said the security officials to Xinhua News Agency. It is seen as one of the most violent flare-ups in weeks.
The incident took place as unidentified gunmen in civilian vehicles broke into the al-Khalani square and shot down the protestors. The relentless anti-government protests had put the Iraq government under pressure. The protests by the citizens demand the government for economic reforms and better living conditions.
Rising tensions in Iraq
The police and medics said that there are nearly 70 people who were injured by the gunfire and stabbing. The witnesses said to AFP that the gunmen came in pickup trucks and attacked a building near the al-Sinak bridge, Baghdad. The state television also said that the building was torched. According to some reports among the dead, there were three police officers.
The incident has happened just a day after a number of people were attacked in Tahrir square. Since October, Iraq has been seeing an increase in protests with people demanding a change in the government. There has been growing arguments and criticisms from human rights groups that the officials were using excessive force on the protestors.
Iraq's top Shia leader Ali al-Sistani said by supporting the protestors that the ongoing protests were a tool for genuine reforms. The violent attack came after Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's resignation got accepted.