Iraqi protesters keep up rallies despite pressure from riot police

BAGHDAD — Security forces shoot live rounds to clear protest hotspots in Baghdad and southern Iraq for a second day, sparking skirmishes with demonstrators determined to keep up their movement.

Violence has resurged in the capital and Shiite-majority south this week, with more than 15 people killed as anti-government activists ramped up their road closures and sit-ins while security forces sought to snuff out the campaign.

Yesterday, four protesters were shot dead as riot police stormed protest camps across the country, according to medics, stoking fears of a broader crackdown.

But the demonstrators returned in large numbers throughout the evening and by this morning, they were rallying again.

In Basra, hundreds of students protest over riot police’s dismantling of their main protest camp the previous day, according to an AFP correspondent.

Others gather in the holy city of Najaf and university students lead a protest in Kut, where they erect new tents to replace those taken down the previous day.

— AFP

Anti-government protesters set tires aflame at a make-shift roadblock along the road leading to Najaf International Airport in the central Iraqi holy shrine city on January 26, 2020. (Haidar Hamdani/AFP)

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