14 killed in two weeks of Iraq protests
BAGHDAD - At least 14 people have been killed in Iraq in two weeks of protests over corruption and lack of public services, a member of the state human rights commission said Monday.
Demonstrations have rocked southern and central Iraq since erupting in the oil-rich port city of Basra on July 8, when security forces opened fire killing one person.
They have since waned after security forces repeatedly used force to disperse demonstrators, although AFP reporters cited protests in the south on Monday.
Rights commission official Fadel al-Gharrawi said 14 people had died in Basra, Samawah, the Shiite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala and in the provinces of Diwaniyah and Babylon.
He did not specify whether those killed were protesters or members of the security services, but a Sunday toll compiled from medical sources put the number of dead at 11, all demonstrators.
Gharrawi said 275 protesters and 470 security personnel were wounded during thousands-strong demonstrations against corrupt officials.
He said over 800 people had also been arrested, but said "the majority were later released", without providing a precise figure.
Local officials and medical sources said most of the dead were killed by gunfire from unidentified assailants, while one person suffocated on tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.
At least one Basra demonstrator was killed by security forces, local officials said, but authorities have also accused "vandals" of infiltrating protests.
Gharrawi, who was appointed by parliament, said he had "urged Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to avoid violence and indiscriminate arrests" but also called on protesters to "behave peacefully".