Five killed in Baghdad, three in Karbala during Iran consulate protest

Three protesters were shot dead overnight during a demonstration outside the Iranian consulate in Karbala, the head of the forensics department there told AFP on Nov. 4. (FILE/AFP/Mohammed Sawaf)
Updated 09 November 2019

Five killed in Baghdad, three in Karbala during Iran consulate protest

  • Security forces in Karbala fired live ammunition to disperse protesters
  • In Karbala late Sunday, protesters hung Iraqi flags on the concrete blocks surrounding the imposing Iranian consulate

KARBALA, Iraq: Three protesters were shot dead overnight during a demonstration outside the Iranian consulate in Iraq’s holy city of Karbala, the head of the forensics department there told AFP on Monday.

Another five were killed on Monday in Baghdad when security forces opened fire on demonstrators.   
Overnight, security forces in Karbala fired live ammunition to disperse protesters trying to scale the walls of the consulate in the southern city and torch it.
AFP correspondents witnessed protesters left motionless after suffering gunshot wounds, and the forensic medicine department later confirmed three people died.
More than 250 people have lost their lives since anti-government rallies broke out in Iraq on October 1, but officials have stopped providing casualty numbers.
In Karbala late Sunday, protesters hung Iraqi flags on the concrete blocks surrounding the imposing Iranian consulate and spray-painted “Karbala is free, Iran out, out!” on them.
Others threw rocks or shot fireworks over the walls into the consulate, then set fire to tires at the gates of the building as police officers looked on.

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As the crowds grew, heavy gunfire and volleys of tear gas rang out.
“They’re not firing up in the air. They intend to kill, not disperse,” said one young protester wearing a medical mask to protect himself from the tear gas.
“They’re protecting the Iranian embassy while all we want is a country. Why are they killing their own countrymen for another country?“
Iraq has close but complicated ties with its eastern neighbor Iran, with whom it fought a deadly war in the 1980s but which now has significant political and economic sway in Iraq.
Every year, millions of Iranian pilgrims travel to the holy city of Karbala, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, to visit the golden-domed mausoleum of Hussein, the prophet Mohammad’s grandson.
But many Iraqis protesting over the past month accuse Iran of being the primary sponsor of the corrupt, inefficient system they want to overthrow.
Tehran, meanwhile, has sought to clamp down the protests next door, with sources reporting top commander Qassem Soleimani making several visits to “advise” Iraqi authorities on coping with the rallies.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also slammed protests in Iraq and Lebanon as conspiracies by the US and others.


Egyptians largely follow law on wearing masks, some worry about cost

Updated 01 June 2020

Egyptians largely follow law on wearing masks, some worry about cost

CAIRO: Most Egyptians appear to be following a new law that says they must wear face masks in public, the latest move by the authorities to slow the spread of the coronavirus as reported cases rise.
The law, which came into effect on Saturday, adds to measures including closing airports to international travel, shutting restaurants and suspending school classes.
Those who fail to comply with the rules on masks risk a fine of around $252.
“This was supposed to happen from the very beginning, so that (people) learn discipline and learn the rules. We are a country that needs discipline,” Isis said, standing near a shop in central Cairo and wearing a mask.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, has registered nearly 25,000 cases of the coronavirus and reported 959 deaths.
Infections rose sharply during the last week marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, when families typically gather for the festivities. A total of 1,536 cases were confirmed on Sunday, double the number on the same day a week ago.
Egypt’s population is overwhelmingly young, but cities are crowded, making it more difficult for people to socially distance.
Reuters witnesses said that police in Cairo were not allowing people inside some banks and metro stations on Sunday and Monday if they were not wearing masks.
“Today people are following the rules. It is good that people are becoming more aware and abiding by this decision ... People today are protecting themselves, protecting their homes, protecting their families,” Adel Othman said through his mask, as he stood in line to enter a bank.
Some people worried that the new rules would add to the financial burden on a population where millions live in poverty.
“I need to spend 30 Egyptian pounds ($1.89) a day to buy masks for my family of six which adds up to 900 pounds a month. My entire salary is 2,200 pounds. How?” said Essam Saeed, an employee at the education directorate in Beni Suef, south of Cairo.
The government said in May that it was going to offer cloth face masks at 5 Egyptian pounds ($0.31) a piece that were viable for use for one month.
Egypt is looking to produce 30 million of the cloth masks a month to meet local demand and will in the coming days produce 8 million as part of an initial trial, the trade minister said in a statement on Sunday. ($1 = 15.8800 Egyptian pounds)