Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani blamed the government for the disorder and called for a new government with higher standards to be formed. Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said on Friday that the government must send more money to Basra.
Much of the ire has been directed toward militias, institutions perceived to be under the influence of Iran, and Iran itself, which they accused of being behind government corruption. Protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Basra, then set it on fire. The building was empty of workers when attacked. Before security forces shot at the protesters to drive them out, they were filmed destroying items inside the building. Video of rioters raising the Iraqi flag over the consulate has been shared on social media. The border crossing between Basra and Iran was sealed shortly afterwards. Attempts to also penetrate the United States consulate were quashed.
The protesters also gathered at the headquarters of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia and were able to set it ablaze before heavy gunfire drove them away. This militia was allegedly funded by Iran. It’s leader, Qais al-Khaz’ali, threatened to retaliate against the demonstrators. There are also reports of attacks on wounded Shi’ite militiamen in hospitals. Many see the militias as Iranian-controlled.
Protests also took place in Baghdad and Karbala.
At least 37 people were killed, and 50 were wounded in recent violence:
In Basra, two were killed and 39 were wounded.
Seven bodies were recovered in Mosul.
One person was killed and two were wounded during an attack on Chalabi.
In Baghdad, a bomb wounded three people.
A bomb in Taji wounded two people.
Twenty militants were killed in Husseiniyah.
And operation in Telol al-Baj left seven militants dead and four wounded.
A number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) members were killed in Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
- PKK in Fresh Clashes; Eight Killed in Iraq – March 17th, 2019
- Eight Killed in Iraq as Turks Battle PKK – March 16th, 2019
- Two militiamen Among 11 Killed in Iraq – March 14th, 2019
- ISIS Executes Another Truffle Hunter; Two People Killed in Iraq – March 13th, 2019
- Tribal Fighting Leaves Casualties; Five Killed in Iraq – March 12th, 2019