Iraqis protest against Amara killings

Crowds of Iraqis gathered outside local government offices in the southeastern city of Amara on Sunday to protest against the killing of at least five people by Iraqi police and British troops a day earlier.

    Occupation forces opened fire, killing five Iraqi protesters

    Police and occupation British forces opened fire on demonstrators in Amara on Saturday, saying the crowds threw grenades and stones as a protest against unemployment turned violent. Hospital sources said at least seven people were wounded. 

    Witnesses said scores of Iraqis, many of them relatives of those killed on Saturday, staged another protest in Amara on Sunday morning, demanding compensations. 

    The protest began peacefully and Iraqi police and British troops were watching the protest from a distance, but there were no immediate reports of violence. 

    A number of protests over lack of jobs have been staged in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled in April.

    Clashes not the first

    On Tuesday, police opened fire in the southern city of Basra on former members of Saddam's military demanding payment of a promised stipend. At least four people were wounded. 

    A joint United Nations/World Bank report issued in October, put the number of unemployed and underemployed people in Iraq at 50% of the country's 26 million population. Of those, about 400,000 are Iraqi soldiers who lost their jobs when US administrator, Paul Bremer, abolished the army.

    Two Iraqis dead in Basra

    In the southern port of Basra, an Iraqi with US residency and working for the US-led occupation forces, was shot dead, along with another man on Saturday.

    "A US-resident Iraqi citizen working with CPA South was found shot dead in Basra. His body was found together with that of another man, who was not associated with CPA South," the Coalition Provisional Authority said in a statement.

    Majid Hanun was killed along with his friend Saramat Naum, not a coalition employee, the CPA said in a separate statement.

    Hanoun had returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein
    last April to work on the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development
    Council, a US-funded programme facilitating the return of emigres to help rebuild Iraq, the statement said.

    "He was working on Ports Security with CPA South: his projects included the suppression of the smuggling of scrap metal and steel," the statement read. 
      

    SOURCE: AFP


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