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Nasiriya: Hundreds of Demonstrators Return to Al-Haboubi Square Following Deadly Attacks by Sadr’s Supporters

The New Arab

After maneuvering their way through streets that were closed off by security forces, hundreds of Iraqi youth successfully arrived in Al-Haboubi Square in Nasiriya, in southern Iraq, breaking the curfew that forces imposed on the city on Saturday night, November 28. Tensions remained high as anti-government demonstrators vowed not to be silent about the bloody attacks that targeted the protest square the night before. Activists said that hundreds of protesters arrived in the square as tents were still burning and others had been bulldozed by supporters of the leader of the Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr.
Major General Hazem Al-Hazem the police chief in Dhi Qar governorate stated, “The local government will return Salem Aboud to the police leadership mission in the city”.
According to a call made by the Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed newspaper to a doctor at Al-Haboubi general hospital in Nasiriya, the number of demonstrators killed had reached 6 , one of them younger than 18 years old; 80 others were injured, some of them very seriously. The doctor confirmed the arrival at the hospital of two more wounded on Saturday as a result of a similar attack by supporters of the cleric Mqtada al-Sadr in the square in al-Rifai city.
Although riot police fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, they insisted on entering the square, in preparation of again setting up their tents.
Local sources in Dhi Qar told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that Iraqi security forces were still heavily deployed throughout the areas surrounding Al-Haboubi Square, Their numbers began to increase on Saturday morning, after the killing of demonstrators in the square and the burning of their tents. In response, the protestors blocked the streets leading to the square with burning tires.
On Friday November 27, the Governor of Dhi Qar, Nazem Al-Waeli, stated “the Supreme Security Committee in Dhi Qar Governorate is following the events that took place in our governorate last Friday, and it’s in a continuous state of session”, also he mentioned to the head of the governorate’s police, they should form an investigation committee to determine who was responsible for the incidents. He called on the people of Dhi Qar province to “support the security forces in carrying out their duties to enforce security and promote civil peace.”