BAGHDAD - Gunfights between protesters and security forces broke out in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya on Wednesday, with elite counter-terrorism troops deploying after police “lost control” of the situation, police sources told Reuters.
Two protesters had been killed in the city on Wednesday and one on Tuesday after police opened fire to disperse protests.
Five people were killed overall and at least 132 wounded on Wednesday in renewed nationwide clashes between demonstrators and Iraqi security forces, the largest display of public anger against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s year-old government.
Domestic instability coupled with regional tensions could prove to be the final nail in the coffin of Abdul Mahdi’s fragile coalition government, sworn in last year as a compromise between rival factions after an inconclusive election.
The protests, which started on Tuesday over unemployment, corruption, and poor public services, have escalated, with many chanting for the “fall of the regime”, a slogan first popularized during the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.