Four dead, 90 injured in Baghdad's Green Zone protests

Iraqi security forces open fire on anti-government protesters who stormed Baghdad's Green Zone, killing at least four and wounding 90.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Anti-government protesters carry a man injured during the storming of Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq May 20, 2016.

Hospital sources said on Saturday that at least four anti-government protesters were killed and 90 injured when Iraqi security forces opened fire on those who stormed into Baghdad's sensitive Green Zone, which houses parliament, government buildings and foreign embassies.

Thousands of people took to the streets on Friday to protest against the government, many were injured by tear gas and live fire, said witnesses.

Anti-government protesters storm Baghdad's Green Zone in Iraq May 20, 2016. [Reuters]

The toll, compiled from four hospitals where the dead were taken to Baghdad's central morgue, accounts only for gunshot wounds and does not include cases of suffocation caused by tear gas.

Civilians have breached the Green Zone twice in three weeks, raising questions about the government's ability to secure the capital.

Protesters included supporters of Shi'ite Muslim Moqtada al Sadr and people from other groups upset with the government's failure to approve anti-corruption reforms and ensure security in the region.

Jaafar al Moussawi, deputy leader of Sadr's political movement, condemned the government for using what he called "excessive force."

"Using live bullets against peaceful protesters is completely unjustified and stark evidence that a supposedly legitimate government has turned into an oppressive government," he said in a statement on Saturday.

Iraqi security forces spray tear gas after anti-government protesters stormed Baghdad's Green Zone, at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq May 20, 2016. (Reuters)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi has condemned the Green Zone breach and warned against chaos and strife as government forces seek to keep up momentum against DAESH terrorists.

The United Nations expressed "deep concern" on Saturday about the incident and warned it could hamper efforts to defeat DAESH, which controls large swathes of territory in northern and western provinces.

"Only the enemies of Iraq, DAESH at the forefront, benefit from chaos," UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, said in a statement.

TRTWorld, Reuters