Iraqi authorities continue to deploy excessive force against demonstrations protesting living conditions in the country.
Yesterday, Friday 2 July, one civilian was killed and 9 others were injured as security forces attempted to disperse a demonstration against electricity blackouts and reduced water supplies – during a period in which temperatures have reached 50 degrees celsius.
News agencies report eyewitnesses saying that one protester was killed and another 9 were injured by security forces, as they attempted to violently disperse a demonstration on Friday afternoon in Qal’at Saleh, in the southern governorate of Maysan. Security forces used live fire and batons to break up the demonstration, which was organised to protest electricity stoppages in the governorate.
Numerous districts in the country’s capital, Baghdad, and the majority of governorates (except the Kurdish Region) across the country have seen demonstrations over the last few days over the issue of electricity shortages.
One protestor, Haider Hussain, aged 32, said “the situation is getting worse. Maybe we can bear electricity blackout for ten hours each day – but at least give us something”. Residents have said that, before dawn, electricity was entirely cut off across most Iraqi provinces, in one of the worst shortages this year.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has decried the Iraqi security forces’ use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations and said that the increased use of such force is evidence of the authorities’ disregard for Iraqi citizens.
AOHR UK has demanded that the international community intervene in order to halt the crimes that the Iraqi people have been suffering for years and ensure that Iraqis have the right to life, assembly, and peaceful expression – a responsibility shared by governments across the world.