29 Monday, November 4, 2019 07:15

Iraqi protesters attack Iran consulate in Karbala

The protests are directed at a postwar political system and a class of elite leaders that Iraqis accuse of pillaging the countrys wealth while the country grows poorer [Murtaja Lateef/EPA] Dozens of protesters in Iraq attacked the Iranian consulate in the Shia holy city of Karbala on Sunday night, scaling the concrete barriers ringing the building, bringing down an Iranian flag and replacing it with the Iraqi flag, eyewitnesses said.

Security forces fired in the air to disperse the protesters who threw stones and burned tires around the building on a street corner in Karbala south of Baghdad.There were no immediate reports of casualties in the incident, which comes amid ongoing protests in the capital Baghdad and majority-Shia provinces in the south.

The witnesses spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.There have been reports of the government authorities deploying police in the area.The protests are directed at a postwar political system and a class of elite leaders that Iraqis accuse of pillaging the countrys wealth while the country grows poorer.

More:Iraqi protesters block major port near Basra as unrest continuesRights group: Iraq education system on brink of collapseIraqi protesters block roads, shutting offices and schoolsBut protesters have also directed their rage at neighbouring Iran and the powerful Iraqi Shia militias tied to it.The anti-government protests in Karbala, Baghdad and cities across southern Iraq have often turned violent, with security forces opening fire and protesters torching government buildings and headquarters of Iran-backed militias.

More than 250 people have been killed in the security crackdown following the protests.In an interview with Al Jazeera, Feisal Istrabadi, former Iraqi ambassador to the UN and director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at Indiana University, warned that more crackdown could happen.I am very much afraid that is whats coming next, he said, adding that we dont have a way of knowing whats going to happen after that.

Istrabadi said that is is nearly impossible for the current leaders in Iraq to quell the ongoing protests.Sweeping reformsThe protests have grown and demonstrators are now calling for sweeping changes, not just the governments resignation.The Iranian consulate in the holy shrine city of Karbala. These scenes will be cause for deep concern in Tehran.

pic.twitter.com/IqoTzCFAMV— Ranj Alaaldin (@RanjAlaaldin) November 3, 2019Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Baghdads central Tahrir Square and across southern Iraq in recent days, calling for the overhaul of the political system established after the 2003 US-led invasion.Protesters have also taken over a large tower in the square that was abandoned after it was damaged in the war.

.What triggered Iraqs mammoth protests?Thousands of students have skipped classes to take part in the street rallies, blaming the political elite for widespread corruption, high unemployment.....

News Code: 375824  |  aljazeera
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