Iraq Protesters Face Threats, Violence From Armed Groups

Journalists also threatened to stop coverage of protests

While protesters in Iraq are largely peaceful, and backed by some powerful groups, the government has some armed factions heavily interested in their own survival. This includes some Shi’ite militias who are very interested in violently silencing dissent.

In Basra, militia members forced their way into the home of a couple seen involved in the protests, killing both. It was meant to be seen as a message for everyone else involved that they could be next.

The hope seems to be that the protesters can be scared off the streets, but so far that hasn’t been working very well, and so they, like Iraq’s security forces, just keep ramping up the violence.

And while protesters are the main targets, journalists are also in the line of fire. Earlier this week Iraq shut down a number of TV and radio news stations seen as pro-protester, and threatened some others.

For individual journalists at the site of protests, they face threats from security forces, and threatened by the same militias for being on the side of the protesters and not the regime.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.