Iranian Consulate In Iraq Torched Amid Anti-Government Protests
November 27, 2019
Iraqi protesters have set fire to Iran's consulate in the southern city of Najaf.
Demonstrators have been angry at Tehran, which they blame for supporting a government they have been protesting against for nearly two months.
Chanting "Victory to Iraq" and "Iran out" the protesters stormed the consulate late on November 27 and set the entire building ablaze, police and civil defense source were quoted as saying.
They said staff at the consulate had evacuated the facility before the attack occurred.
Security forces used tear gas and live ammunition to try to disperse the protesters, some reports said.
State media reported that authorities announced a curfew shortly after the incident, which comes amid a wave of anti-government protests that erupted in early October over corruption and poor government services, leaving more than 340 people dead.
Najaf Governor Luay al-Yassiry also announced that work in state institutions will be suspended on November 28, according to the Iraqi News Agency.
Protesters have taken to the streets of the capital, Baghdad, and Iraq's Shi'ite-majority south, calling for the resignation of the government, the dissolution of parliament, and an overhaul of the country's political system.
Many protesters have directed their anger at majority Shi'ite Iran, which has maintained close ties to political parties and paramilitary groups that dominate Iraq's state institutions and parliament.
Iran's consulate in the Iraqi city of Karbala was targeted by protesters earlier this month, and security forces defending the site shot four demonstrators dead at the time.
Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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