(28 Nov 2019) Protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late Wednesday, with the building left burnt out and blackened.
Iranian staff were not harmed, escaping out the back door.
One demonstrator was killed and 35 wounded when police fired live ammunition to prevent them from entering the building.
Once inside, the demonstrators removed the Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi one, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.
Tehran called for a “responsible, strong and effective” response leadership to the incident from Iraq’s government, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said in statements to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
Violence across southern Iraq had continued throughout the night, with security forces killing 14 protesters and wounded 75 since Wednesday.
In Basra, security forces were deployed in the city’s main roads to prevent protesters from staging sit-ins.
Basra’s streets were open as of Thursday morning, but roads leading to the two main Gulf commodities ports in Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair remained closed.
Schools and official public institutions were also closed.
Anti-government protests have gripped Iraq since October 1, when thousands took to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south.
The largely leaderless movement is accusing the government of being hopelessly corrupt, and also decries Iran’s growing influence in Iraqi state affairs.
At least 350 people have died as security forces have routinely used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse crowds, sometimes shooting protesters directly with gas canisters, causing several fatalities.
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