By Peter Lawrence, The Chicago Times
August 30, 2022
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces shot and killed 15 protestors after hundreds stormed a government palace after a popular Shiite cleric abruptly resigned on Monday.
The resignation of the influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stirred the emotions of hundreds of his followers who rushed a government palace in a rage, pulling down cement barriers surrounding the palace with ropes.
The Iraqi military decreed a nationwide curfew after further clashes with protesters. It has been reported that dozens of protesters were wounded by gunfire, tear gas, and beatings from riot police.
Throughout the night, fighting between the Saraya Salam, a militia aligned with al-Sadr, and the Popular Mobilization Forces security group spilled into the Green Zone which houses many government and diplomatic assets. Further reports indicate that innocent women and children have been wounded in the fighting.
The continuing struggle between Shiites and Sunnis Muslim sects, which make up the majority of Iraq’s population, has left the nation with uncertainly as to which sect will dominant the county. In October, al-Sadr’s Shiite party won the largest share of seats in parliament, but not enough to form a majority government after he refused to parley with Iran-backed Shiite rivals.
Iraq’s prime minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, was outraged by the shootings and vowed to open an investigation since the use of live ammunition against protesters was forbidden.