UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Protesters Killed as Iraqis Stage 'Day of Rage' Protest

VOA News February 25, 2011

Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets Friday in a nationwide "Day of Rage" inspired by uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations.

At least five people were killed in clashes with security forces. News reports say the deaths occurred as demonstrators tried to storm government buildings in at least two Iraqi cities.

At least three of the people were reported killed in the northern city of Mosul, while at least two were said to have died in Hawija.

Protesters also tried to push between concrete blast walls on a bridge leading to Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone of government buildings and embassies.

Friday's demonstration, planned for weeks, is the latest in a series of protests in Iraq. Demonstrators have been calling for better public services and measures to clean up government corruption.

Security was high Friday in and around Baghdad's Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the center of the demonstrations. The city was under vehicle curfew, forcing protesters to walk to the protest site.

In a televised speech Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki urged Iraqis to boycott the protests, saying they are organized by insurgents and supporters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, seeking to incite violence.

Organizers have publicized the gatherings through online social networks such as Facebook.

In response to the protests, Maliki has cut his own pay and increased funding for food programs for the needy.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list