Security forces opened fire on protesters in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya late on Saturday, killing at least five people and injured dozens, police and medical sources said. Protestors had gathered in three key bridges in the city, and security forces used live ammunition and tear gas canisters to disperse them, said the sources.
More than 50 others were wounded mainly by live bullets and tear gas canisters in clashes in the city added the sources. The estimated number of people who died during the mass unrest in Baghdad and Southern Iraq has reached up to 330, the largest demonstration since the fall of Saddam Hussein since 2003.
Protestors are demanding the overthrow of a political class which is seen as corrupt and serving foreign powers while many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs. healthcare or education. The unrest has shattered the relative calm that followed the defeat of the Islamic State in 2017.
Medical authorities evacuated infants and children from a hospital in Central Nassiriya overnight after tear gas spread inside the hospital yards, two hospital sources said. The protests continued on Sunday with some government offices set of fire, sources said.
In other parts of southern Iraq, protestors burned tyres and blocked some roads to Basra on Sunday, preventing government employees from reaching the offices, police said.
The Iraqi security forces wounded at least 24 in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala overnight after opening fire on protestors preventing them from reaching the local government headquarters, medical and security sources said.