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Monday, January 25, 2021

Death toll rises in Iraq bloodshed, mourners bury dead

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Death toll rises in Iraq bloodshed, mourners bury dead
Death toll rises in Iraq bloodshed, mourners bury dead

Iraq's death toll surpassed 400 on Friday, as mourners held funerals to bury their dead after weeks of anti-government protests.

Lauren Anthony reports.

Mourners said goodbye to their lost loved ones in Iraq on Friday (November 28).

Defying a curfew to bury their dead.

The death toll across the country has surpassed 400, following one of the bloodiest days in weeks of anti-government unrest.

Thursday (November 28) saw Iraqi security forces shoot at least 60 protesters dead nationwide, after demonstrators stormed and torched an Iranian consulate overnight.

A move that could mark a turning point in the uprising against the Tehran-backed authorities.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BROTHERS OF KILLED PROTESTER, UNNAMED, SAYING: "They shot him in the heart, he was only distributing water, I swear to God he was only distributing water.

He did not burn anything or beat anyone, only distributing water.

They shot him twice, one here (pointing to heart) and one here (pointing to throat)." The protesters are overwhelmingly Shi'ite Muslims, who accuse the Iraqi authorities of turning against their own people to defend Iran.

The country's top Shi'ite cleric condemned the attacks on Friday, as his representative explained in a televised address.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) REPRESENTATIVE OF GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI AL-SISTANI, AHMED AL-SAFY, SAYING: "We confirm again that attacks against peaceful protesters are forbidden, as well as them being prevented from having the right to demand reforms." He added that attacks on private and public property are also forbidden.

Sistani weighs in on politics only in times of crisis but wields huge influence over public opinion.

These remarks were his strongest suggestion yet that the current government should step aside.

The unrest marks Iraq's biggest crisis for years.

Protesters demand the departure of a Shi'ite-dominated ruling elite backed by Iran.

One which has held power since Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown during the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.


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