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article image‘Day of Rage’ protests in Iraq kill at least 10

By Lynn Herrmann     Feb 25, 2011 in Politics
Baghdad - Tens of thousand of Iraqis have defied an official government curfew Friday to participate in nationwide demonstrations called the “Day of Rage,” challenging security forces, rooftop snipers, police and military.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has imposed a curfew in Baghdad banning cars and bicycles from the city’s street. As a result people are walking miles to reach Tahrir Square.
The protesters have been inspired by regional protests in the Arab world, including Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Reuters reports at least 10 people have been killed so far, with scores injured.
Although there have been no reports of insurgent attacks, Maliki warned the country’s militants might try disrupting the protests.
“I would like to assure all our people that nothing which they have protested against due to their discontent will go in vain," he said in a statement. "I will follow up personally the implementation of all issues under my authority as prime minister,” Maliki said, according to Reuters.
The heaviest violence so far has occurred in Mosul and Hawija to the north and Basra, an oil hub in the south of the country.
Lina Ali, a 27-year-old, said: “We are here for change, to improve the situation of the country. The education system is bad. The health system is also bad. Services are going from bad to worse,” Reuters noted.
The protests come on the heels of actions in several of the region’s Arab countries, including the latest protests and violence in Libya. Additionally, a new human rights report released this week reveals in harsh detail the squalid living conditions, torture, murder, rape and abuse that many of its most vulnerable citizens face daily.
Speaking in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, Ali added: “There is no drinkable water, no electricity. Unemployment is growing, which can push the youth toward terrorist activities,” Reuters reports.
The Associated Press reports at least 11 protesters have been killed so far, as security forces in northern Iraqi cities have opened gunfire on crowds, killing nine. In Baghdad, protesters have knocked over blast walls and thrown rocks at security troops.
The “Day of Rage” has been provoked by ongoing corruption, abuse, unemployment and a lack of basic services, including electricity and clean drinking water.
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