More than 600 protesters were killed in Iraq in Baghdad and cities in southern Iraq, Amnesty International organization warned in report on Thursday.
The organization stated in its report that chilling eyewitness testimonies and verified video analysis by Amnesty International confirm that security forces have resumed their campaign of deadly violence against largely peaceful protesters in Baghdad and cities in southern Iraq.
The organization said that its Crisis Evidence Lab verified videos from several flashpoints in recent days, confirming live ammunition is once again being used against unarmed protesters, and the first use of deadly military-grade tear gas grenades observed since November.
“This worrying evidence signals that the Iraqi security forces have resumed their lethal campaign of repression against protesters who are simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly. This latest escalation is a clear indication that the Iraqi authorities have no intention whatsoever to genuinely put an end to these grave violations,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.
“The use of lethal force to silence dissent must stop immediately. The authorities have had months to change course away from violent repression. Protesters have a right to expect that the security forces protect – not arbitrarily kill and maim – them.”
Lynn Maalouf called for the immediate cessation of what she called the abhorrent pattern of intentional killing, torture and repression, and called on the Iraqi authorities to immediately rein in the security forces, remove those responsible for serious violations, and initiate thorough, independent investigations aimed at bringing accountability and redress for victims and their families.
It is noteworthy that mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system.
Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed on January as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a U.S.-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.
PUKmedia / Amnesty International