Iraqi authorities ramped up violent tactics to quash ongoing protests across Baghdad and southern Iraq between January 25 and 27, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Security forces set fire to protesters’ tents, fired live ammunition, and detained protesters in Baghdad, Basra, and Nasriya. Human Rights Watch was unable to determine the extent of casualties or numbers detained.
“The burning of protester tents in city squares looks like a coordinated effort by Iraqi authorities to force peaceful protesters from public spaces,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of using unjustifiable force, Baghdad authorities should meet protesters’ demands by addressing rampant corruption and improving access to basic services and jobs.”
Human Rights Watch interviewed nine protesters and three medics in the three cities.