Friday: 34 Iraqis, 1 US Soldier Killed; 189 Iraqis Wounded
Updated at 9:50 a.m. EST, Feb. 26, 2011
Despite repeated attempts to prevent Iraqis from venting their frustration with government corruption and poor services, thousands gathered across the country for a "day of rage." In several cities, the protests became destructive and deadly, but in others some of the protestors’ demands were met. At least 34 Iraqis were killed and 189 more were wounded in demonstrations and other violence. The figures are likely to be higher as some reports had propotionally low figures for civilian wounded. Separately, a U.S. airman was killed in a vehicular accident at a base in Qatar. Also, members of Human Rights Watch reported seeing Baghdad police attack protestors earlier this week, while Reporters Without Borders condemned a ban on live coverage of events from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.
In Mosul, at least six people were killed and 15 more were wounded during clashes with police. Protestors also stormed the provincial building and set it on fire. A vehicle ban in is place due to the demonstrations.
The governor of Basra handed in his resignation after pressure from the prime minister and a protest calling for his dismissal. Later, Basra Operations Command reported that 84 people had been wounded during demonstrations. All but 18 of them were policemen, but such a disproportionately high number of police casualties in comparison to civilians seems unlikely. One civilian was killed. Reports out of Basra have never been reliable.
Baghdad was in a virtual lockdown as demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square. At least nine people were wounded, but only two of them civilians. By the end of the day police were using water cannons and percussion grenades to chase away demonstrators, killing three of them. A vehicle and bike ban was imposed in what some call an attempt to prevent demonstrators from reaching the square. The ban also prevented the city’s newspapers from being published, while four journalists who were detained while covering the events were eventually released. Protestors were also thwarted from entering the Green Zone at the Jumhuriyah Bridge.
Mortar fire wounded three policemen in Kirkuk. Demonstrations left 23 policemen and a journalist injured, probably when demonstrators took control of a police station. No word on civilian casualties, but at least three people were killed.
Two people were reported killed during protests somewhere in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Six protestors were injured when about 250 demonstrators attempted to storm the Suleiman Bek council building.
Demonstrations in Nasariya left three wounded.
Three more were wounded during protests in Khaldiya.
A demonstration took place in Kut.
Authorities will change the name of Moammar Gadhafi Street in Suleimaniya after receiving the demand from protestors.
Gunmen stormed a house in Garma where they killed six civilians and wounded one more. The family may have been connected to the Sahwa movement.
In Hilla, two Sahwa were killed and one more was wounded when gunmen attacked their post.
Four people were wounded, including two policemen, during an I.E.D. explosion in Tuz Khormato.
During an operation in Hit, a suspected al-Qaeda leader was killed.
A car bomb was defused in Khalidiya.
Officials in Thi Qar province blamed Ba’athists for stirring up the demostrators.
Police in Karbala went as far as detaining journalists, among 200 others today, in order to confiscate their recording equipment.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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