* Iraq Protests Update

By The Free Iranian Staff


October 17th

Iraqi army officers confirmed today that personnel from the Shia militias loyal to Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wearing Iraqi uniforms, infiltrated the Iraqi army, and were primarily responsible for the violent crackdown of the protests a week and a half ago. They operated under coordination and direction from Abu Zainab al-Lami, head of operations for the Hashd al Shaabi militia, which is controlled by the IRGC’s Qods Force, and relied on encrypted communications equipment provided by the IRGC. IRGC high-ranking officers also came to Iraq after the protests began, at the invitation of Iraq’s Prime Minister, to assist in quashing the uprising.

October 20th

Moqtada Al-Sadr called on the Iraqi people to resume protesting on Friday, the 25th, which is the deadline that Ayatollah Sistani had given for the Iraqi government to either resign, or face his complete opposition.

October 24th

This evening, people began assembling in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, and chanting slogans against the IRGC and Qassem Soleymani, in particular.

October 25th

After an almost three-week lull, the protests suddenly resumed, as promised, and immediately developed into violence. Large crowds gathered in Tahrir Square this morning, and began marching from there towards the Green Zone. Security forces responded by firing live ammunition, killing several people. By nightfall, 42 were reported killed, in various cities. In multiple cases, protestors directly confronters members of the Hashd al Shaabi, Tehran’s main armed proxy group in the country, with Abu Yazra’eel, one of the militia’s leaders, actually being beaten up by a crowd.



Protests also occurred in other parts of the country, most notable in Basra, where an estimated 4,000 people gathered around the provincial government’s offices, and set it on fire.

October 26th

Seven more people were killed today during clashes in Baghdad and Nasiriyah, bringing the estimated death toll over the past two days to 49. Thousands of Baghdadis attempted to storm the Green Zone again, but were pushed back by security forces and quarantined in Tahrir Square, the protesters’ makeshift headquarters and camping ground. Asia Kamal, an Iraqi pop star, was photographed being injured after being tear gassed during the Baghdad violence today.

Moqtada Al-Sadr gave a speech today, encouraging the demonstrators to keep up their campaign until Iraq is free of foreign domination.

In Nasiriyah, the fighting occurred around the provincial governor’s offices, which the people attempted to take over. Nasiriyah, and Basra, remain under martial law. Members of Asaeb Ahl Al Haq, another IRGC-backed militia, reportedly fired at protesters who marched on its headquarters in Nasiriyah, killing at least nine. The focus of the protests continues to be the intervention into Iraqi affairs by the Khomeinist regime. “Iran out of Iraq!” they chanted in Baghdad.

In Karbala, a big anti Tehran rally was held today outside the Iranian consulate. Demonstrators managed to scale the building and hoist an Iraqi flag over it.

Meanwhile, in Babil, fighting between protestors and pro-Tehran Shi’a militiamen broke out when protestors attacked the headquarters of the local branch of the Badr Brigade, one of the 17 armed groups Tehran is using in Iraq.

The largest amount of deaths occurred in Diwaniyah, where crowds of protestors stormed the local headquarters of the Badr Brigade, set it alight, but then were trapped inside by fleeing militiamen.

In Meysan, crowds set fire to the base of the Asaeb Ahl Al Haq there, after militiamen killed a demonstrator.

Additional deaths were reported in Samawah, Amara and Basra.

October 27th

Fighting continued into today, as protestors refused to leave Tahrir Square despite attempts to force them out. More Baghdadis joined the crowds, and the scene of the clashes was yet again pushed towards the Green Zone. Shi’a militiamen are said to be on the streets, shooting the demonstrators.

In Karbala, demonstrators burnt down the provincial council’s offices.

The death toll now stands at 74. In solidarity with the popular uprising, student groups around the country have announced a general strike, starting tomorrow. Also, four members of the Iraqi parliament have resigned their seats, and begun holding a sit-in outside the parliament building, saying they will not leave until new elections are called.

At sundown, the government cut off power in Tahrir Square in order to make it harder for protestors to see, or organize.

Fighting also continued today in Nasiriyah, Najaf, Hillah, and Diwaniyah. Basra is under military control, and reports say that massive arrests are being made there.

October 28th

The protestors In Tahrir Square held firm during the night, and repulsed the security forces who attempted to disperse them.

In the morning, they began marching yet again, this time accompanied by thousands of striking students who have now joined them. Barricades began to be erected, much as they were earlier this month, around the Green Zone to retard and hamper security forces and Shi’a militias from attacking the crowds. At least two people were killed in Baghdad today, and the Iraqi government has now placed the city under martial law. The Iraqi army has been ordered to suppress the uprising.  Amidst the chaos of the fighting, a US military installation was said to be hit by mortar rounds, possibly originating from the Shi’a militias.

Student marches were held in other cities as well.

Fighting continues in various other places, from Karbala in the south to Kirkuk in the north, while human rights activists are stating that a massacre may be imminent.

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