Iraqi PM orders security forces not to shoot unarmed protesters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on security forces to be on high alert and not to open fire on unarmed demonstrators, who have been staging rallies in the country’s southern provinces since last week, demanding enhanced services and job opportunities.

Some 11 demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded in clashes with police, as protests over unemployment and a lack of basic services entered a second week.

“Iraqi people have the right to stage peaceful rallies,” said Abadi, but he warned that “taking the protests out of their context could pull the country backwards.”

Abadi termed those who seek to create chaos in Iraq and assault security forces as “a group of vandals, who try to exploit the demands of citizens to jeopardize the country.”

The premier further directed the security services not to use weapons to confront unarmed citizens.

Iraqi protesters have staged mass demonstrations against unemployment, corruption and poor services across southern Iraq since last week, prompting the government to impose a curfew in several provinces and put security forces on high alert.

Source: Jordan News Agency