5 Killed in Iraq Protest Crackdowns

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — At least five deaths were reported in Iraq after clashes broke out between protesters and security forces on Friday, as demonstrators sought to burn down government offices in several cities.

Two demonstrators were killed Friday morning after Iraqi police forces opened fire on protesters in Mosul, Iraq, CNN reported, when the protesters stormed and set fire to local government offices. More than 20 people were wounded in the clash, CNN said, citing Iraqi police.

Security forces were using tear gas, and water cannons to disperse crowds that gathered in cities across the nation.

Three protesters were killed and 12 others were wounded in Hawijah, a town near Kirkuk, when Iraqi forces shot at hundreds of protesters who were throwing stones at troops, Iraqi Army Capt. Mohammed Al Angood said.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Friday in Iraq’s “day of rage” to rally against corruption in local governments.

While the upheaval may have been inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, many Iraqi protesters aren’t calling for the complete removal of the Iraqi government. Instead, they are rallying against corruption and high unemployment, demanding improved human rights as well as an end to food, job and power shortages. The lack of clean drinking water also has prompted some unrest.