Iraq - Trade union activists join anti-corruption protests violently repressed by government

Over 250 protestors were killed by government forces throughout October and November 2019 during widespread protests against corruption and unemployment. Demonstrators were calling for jobs, improved social services and an end to widespread state corruption. During the protests, government security forces continuously attacked demonstrators using live ammunition, explosives and stun grenades.

On 29 October 2019, tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Tahrir Square in Baghdad to protest government corruption and widespread unemployment. Security forces used live ammunition and snipers on rooftops to kill demonstrators. On the same day in Karbala, protestors were attacked by masked men and 18 people were killed.

Iraq’s trade unions have been involved in the protests, which have been ongoing since 1 October 2019. The Conference of Iraqi Federations and Workers Unions, an alliance of national union bodies, issued a statement supporting the demands of the protesters and blaming the political parties and government for the poverty, unemployment and corruption that sparked the protest as well as condemning the government’s violent response.

On Saturday 2 November 2019, at least one person was killed and dozens more wounded in clashes between protestors and security forces near Tahrir Square. Riot police deployed along the bridges fired tear gas to keep back protesters.

At least 81 people were arrested throughout the protests.

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