Protester killed in southern Iraq as tensions flare again

BASRA, IRAQ (AP) – Iraqi security forces opened fire during clashes with hundreds of protesters in the southern city of Basra on Friday, killing one demonstrator and wounding several others as tensions flared once again, hospital officials said.

The clashes erupted after some of the protesters tried to set up tents in a public square, a week after similar, previously erected protest tents in Basra and Baghdad had been removed.

Dozens of young Iraqis were seen running away in panic after the shots were fired in Basra. The slain protester was identified as Omar al-Thiabi, a 29-year-old unemployed Iraqi.

Last Saturday, Iraqi forces cleared out sit-in tents from Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square that had been the epicentre of anti-government mass protests that erupted last year. They also removed tents in Basra’s Bahriya Square and in other southern cities that have seen major protests throughout the past year.