At least three anti-government protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces in southern Iraq today, officials say, as authorities try to reopen the country’s main port, which has been blocked by demonstrators for three days.
Security and medical officials say a protester was killed and eight more were wounded in Umm Qasr, a key oil terminal on the Persian Gulf. The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, a semi-official agency, said two people were killed and 23 wounded in clashes in the southern city of Nasiriyah.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters, say security forces in Umm Qasr fired live ammunition and tear gas, and that protesters seized an armored vehicle.
Security forces in Iraq have killed at least 267 protesters in two major waves of anti-government demonstrations since Oct. 1 in Baghdad and across the mostly Shiite south. The protesters want an overhaul of the political system established after the 2003 US-led invasion, accusing the government and major parties of corruption and incompetence in dealing with the economy and unemployment.