Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraq: Death toll from armed attack rises to 25

By Gulsen Topcu

BAGHDAD (AA) – The death toll from an armed attack of unidentified assailants in Iraq's capital has risen to 25, a local medical source said on Saturday.

Around 120 other people were wounded in Friday's armed attack by unidentified assailants in al-Hallani Square in Baghdad, said the source, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

Iraqi authorities have not yet made an official statement on the attack.

Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October, leaving 460 Iraqis killed and 17,000 injured, according to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights.

On Dec. 1, the Iraqi parliament accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi amid protests against corruption and poor living conditions in the country.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraqi protesters again set fire to Iranian consulate

By Haydar Karaalp

BAGHDAD (AA) – Protesters in Iraq set fire to the Iranian consulate in the southern city of Najaf for the third time, local media reported Tuesday.

The consulate was previously torched on Nov. 28 and Dec. 1.

Iraq has been rocked by mass protests since early October over poor living conditions and corruption. The protesters' demands later spiraled into calls for dissolving Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi's government.

The prime minister delivered his resignation letter to the parliament, which was approved on Sunday.

According to Iraq's High Commission for Human Rights, at least 346 Iraqis have been killed and 15,000 have been injured since the protests began on Oct. 1.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraqi forces kill three protesters in Basra

By Ali Cevad

BASRA, Iraq (AA) – Iraqi security forces opened fire on protesters in the southern city of Basra on Thursday while dispersing them, killing three, according to a medical source.

Dozens of people were also injured by live bullets, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

At least 260 people have been killed and thousands injured in a second wave of anti-government demonstrations in Iraq since last week.

More than 230 people were killed in the first wave of protests in October.

Popular anger has been simmering in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many residents have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

Iraq's youth unemployment is around 25% according to World Bank figures. It is also the 12th most corrupt country in the world according to several organizations that monitor transparency.

*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak

Alaturka Gazetesi

Pakistan: Marchers stopped short of Kashmir border

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistani authorities Sunday evening halted hundreds of Kashmiris belonging to a pro-independence group from approaching the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides disputed Kashmir between Pakistan and Indian.

The protesters gathered on Friday in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and by Sunday the "Freedom March" had reached the Jiskool area, located some 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Line of Control.

There the local administration blocked the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar highway by placing containers and barbed wires, stopping the marchers from going forward.

The march was organized by the Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir chapter of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a group led by incarcerated pro-independence leader Yasin Malik.

"The administration has blocked the road and not allowed us toward the LoC," Rafiq Dar, the front’s spokesman, told Anadolu Agency over the phone

According to local media, the local administration told the marchers that they would not allow them any further as Indian forces could target them.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday warned against any “emotional” attempt by the people to cross the Line of Control, as any such attempt could hurt Kashmiris’ struggle.

Last month already frosty relations between Pakistan and India reached a new low after India scrapped special provisions allowing the state of Jammu and Kashmir semi-autonomy.

The state has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5.

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

Indian authorities claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 93% of the region, a claim Anadolu Agency could not verify independently.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian Constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws.

The provisions also barred outsiders from settling in or owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in part and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraq: Speaker vows to join protests if demands unmet

By Arif Yusuf and Hamdi Yildiz

BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraq’s parliament speaker pledged Saturday that if authorities do not respond to protesters’ demands then he will join their ranks.

“If the demands of the protesters are not met, I will take to the street along with them,” Mohamed al-Halbousi told reporters in the capital Baghdad, calling on the protesters’ representatives to attend the next session of parliament to discuss their demands.

Halbousi also urged them not to clash with security forces but to continue demanding their legitimate rights.

He also promised to fight corruption, saying: “The disaster of corruption is no different than terrorism.”

He urged the government to identify the ringleaders of corruption in order to hold them accountable.

Halbousi also assured the protesters that money has been allocated for building around 100,000 houses, a project he said would offer employment to around a million people.

“Higher education graduates will be given higher opportunities and personnel recruitment will start,” he said, adding that over a million low-income families will be financially supported by parliament.

On Saturday, Iraq’s government engaged in talks with the protesters’ representatives for the first time in an effort to end the wave of demonstrations that has killed scores in the country since Tuesday.

At least 100 people have been killed and more than 2,500 others injured in the protests, according to an anonymous official from Iraq’s Health Ministry.

Protesters are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi as well as improvements in living conditions and an end to corruption.

Discontent has been growing in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water, and unemployment is around 10%.

– UN call for ending violence

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the secretary-general for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, expressed concern over the incidents.

“Deeply saddened by the senseless loss of life. Five days of reported deaths and injuries: this must stop,” she wrote on Twitter.

“I call on all parties to pause and reflect. Those responsible for violence should be held to account. Let the spirit of unity prevail across #Iraq.”

*Writing by Sena Guler in Ankara

Alaturka Gazetesi

UPDATE – Iraqi government says holding talks with protesters


By Ibrahim Salih, Naza Mohamed and Haydar Karaalp

BAGHDAD (AA) – The Iraqi government has been engaged in talks with representatives of protesters on Saturday in an effort to end a wave of demonstrations that killed scores in the country.

The follow-up unit in Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office said “it is contacting with influential parties in the popular protests in six provinces”, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

“There is an agreement on fulfilling the legitimate demands of the protesters,” the unit said.

Saturday’s talks were the first between the Iraqi government and protesters, since demonstrations broke out on Tuesday in Baghdad and the country’s southern provinces.

At least 100 people have been killed and more than 2,500 others injured in the protests, according to an anonymous official from Iraq’s Health Ministry.

On the fifth day of protests, five people were killed and dozens were injured as a result of the intervention of the security forces in demonstrations in capital Baghdad's Palestine Street, according to information received from hospital sources.

Protesters have been demanding Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to resign as well as improvements in living conditions and an end to corruption.

“We are looking forward to seeing the Iraqi government taking all measures to calm the situation and initiate a serious and real dialogue to address the causes of the protests,” the Cairo-based league said in a statement.

It reiterated support for Iraq “in taking every measure to end the current escalation and restore peace and security to the country”.

Discontent has been growing in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment rates and rampant corruption. Many in the country have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water, and the unemployment level is around 10%.

* Additional writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara

Alaturka Gazetesi

Iraqi protesters storm Al-Diwaniyah provincial council

By Hussein al-Amir

BAGHDAD (AA) – Angry protesters on Friday stormed the provincial council in the Shia-dominated Al-Diwaniyah in southern Iraq, according to a police officer.

"Hundreds of demonstrators stormed provincial council's building after violent clashes with security forces," Police Lieutenant Jassim al-Tamimi told Anadolu Agency.

Dozens of demonstrators were injured by gunfire and police forces were injured by stones in the clashes.

The police officer added that "there are unconfirmed reports of deaths among the demonstrators as a result of the clashes".

At least 42 people have been killed and some 2,500 others injured since the anti-government protests erupted throughout Iraq on Tuesday.

Protesters have been demanding improvement in living conditions and an end to corruption. Security forces have reportedly opened fire on protesters to disperse them, causing mass casualties.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat


6 soldiers killed in Sudan clashes

By Mohammed Amin

KHARTOUM (AA) – Six Sudanese soldiers have been killed in clashes with protesters in South Kordofan state, according to the ruling military council on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference in Khartoum, council deputy head Mohamed Hamdan Daqlo said the deaths occurred in the state in the past few days.

He also cited clashes between protesters and security forces in the western Darfur province over what he described as attempts to rob billions of Sudanese pounds from stores belonging to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Daqlo confirmed that the military council and opposition have agreed to form a joint transitional council and to open the railway path and main roads that lead to a protest camp in front of the army headquarters.

“We are working to reach a comprehensive agreement with the Change and Freedom alliance but we also want the life of other citizens not to be interrupted,” he said.

“We want food and services to be supplied to the people in the states outside Khartoum, so we wouldn’t allow this chaos to be continued,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable that the civilians take the role of the police and the army by putting barricades and checkpoints on the roads,” Daqlo said. “Enough is enough.”

Sudan has been in turmoil since the military deposed long-serving President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month after months of protests against his three-decade rule.


UPDATE 2 – Gazan protesters decry occupation, urge national unity

UPDATES NUMBER OF INJURED; DECK UPDATED</p> <p>By Mohamed Majed and Hidayah al-Saeedi</p> <p>GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least 60 Palestinian protesters, including four women and 15 children, were injured Friday by Israeli troops while demonstrating along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone, Gaza’s Health Ministry said in a statement.</p> <p>The statement gave no details on the nature of the protesters’ injuries.</p> <p>Earlier Friday, hundreds of Palestinians converged along the fraught buffer zone to take part in ongoing rallies against Israel’s decades-long occupation. </p> <p>In a statement, the National Authority for Breaking the Siege (made up of several Gaza-based resistance groups) urged Palestinians to take part in Friday’s protest, which was held under the slogan “National unity and an end to division.”</p> <p>Since 2007, the Palestinian political scene has been marred by division between rival factions Hamas and Fatah — despite several attempts at reconciliation.</p> <p>Protesters also demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.</p> <p>They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many basic commodities. </p> <p>* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat


London climate protests: Police make nearly 300 arrests

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal</p> <p>LONDON (AA) – The number of arrests in ongoing road blockages by environmentalist protesters has risen to roughly 300 in London, the Metropolitan Police said Wednesday.</p> <p>The updated number by police came after more than 200 arrests as the protest brought London to a standstill with some roads in the city blocked since Monday morning. </p> <p>London's Metropolitan Police issued a public order condition as of Monday evening, which means that protesters should leave the scene when they are asked to.</p> <p>&quot;The same condition has been implemented to those in the Oxford Circus area,&quot; police said.</p> <p>The condition has since been “extended for a further three days.”</p> <p>“In order to impose this condition, the Met required evidence that serious disruption was being caused to communities in London,” police said.</p> <p>Updating the number of arrests as 290 in a new statement, police asked all protesters to move to the Marble Arch area.</p> <p>The protesters have blocked Waterloo Bridge, one of the main passages across River Thames, as well as Marble Arch and Oxford Circus areas in central London.</p> <p>Similar protests are being reported in various other cities across the U.K., including Glasgow and Nottingham.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Extinction Rebellion, a grassroots activist movement organizing the protests, said in a statement that they would disrupt London’s rail and metro services on Wednesday.</p> <p>They said they plan to continue the protests throughout the week.</p> <p>The protesters are demanding the government to declare a state of &quot;climate emergency&quot; and ask for reforms &quot;to address climate change as an educational priority&quot;.